The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Book - 1994
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Random House, Inc.
Because of the boyhood trauma of seeing his mother make love to another man in the presence of his dying father, Mizoguchi becomes a hopeless stutterer. Taunted by his schoolmates, he feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto. He quickly becomes obsessed with the beauty of the temple. Even when tempted by a friend into exploring the geisha district, he cannot escape its image. In the novel's soaring climax, he tries desperately to free himself from his fixation.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1994
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679752707
0679752706
Branch Call Number: FICTION MISHIMA
Characteristics: xix, 262 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Morris, Ivan I.

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dennismmiller
Jun 20, 2018

"Ever since my childhood, Father had often spoken to me about the Golden Temple." From an early age, then, the ideal of the Golden Temple of Kinkaku-ji dominated Mizoguchi's imagination, but what is a portal for the father becomes a barrier for the son. Distanced from others by his stutter, convinced of his own essential unloveliness, Mizoguchi comes to hate the Golden Temple more the more he is captivated by its beauty. After the death of his father, he becomes a novice at the Temple, and it becomes the ultimate symbol of his father, his religion, his country, his traditions, his future, and everything that stands in the way of his freedom to be a beast.

Based on the true story of the novice priest who burned down the Golden Temple in 1950, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is full of the Mishima's characteristic alternately achingly beautiful and shockingly brutal enigmatic vignettes. The novel - part biography, part prose poem, part koan - is an enchanting tragedy both personal and civilizational.

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