Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima
The debut novel from a writer who wrote his own life more than any other.
In 1970, when he was 45, Mishima, along with members of his trained militia, staged a coup d’etat at a military base in Tokyo.
Mishima’s goal was to convince Japan to return to pre-war imperialism.
He was laughed at, mocked, scorned. He failed.
Then he committed seppuku, the traditional death of the samurai, by cutting his stomach open and having his second in command chop his head off.
Confessions of a Mask is a story about being an outsider in Japan, a young boy who realizes he’s gay, who fantasizes about warfare, death, sexual violence, and the bodies of young martyred men.
To some extent, we all must wear a mask, having to hide our true selves, diminish our desires to reach a state of functional normality.
Confessions of a Mask illuminates the tragic, obsessive, self loathing cycle of the intense desire to NOT be WHAT ONE IS.
Originally published in 1949, it’s timeless power hasn’t diminished in the slightest.
One of my favorites.