A band of savage 13-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.
"Mishima's greatest novel, and one of the greatest of the past century." (The Times)
"Coolly exact with his characters and their honourable motives. His aim is to make the destruction of the sailor by his love seem as inevitable as the ocean." (Guardian)
"Told with Mishima's fierce attention to naturalistic detail, the grisly tale becomes painfully convincing and yields a richness of psychological and mythic truth." (Sunday Times)
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Unsettling writing, flawed reading