My old friend from my community college days loved Yukio Mishima. I was curious about him, mainly because of the crazy circumstances surrounding his death. Normally tales like that one usually confound a writer’s legacy, for the worst most of the time. But after reading Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, I can safely say that he was one big bag of crazy, in equal parts creative and normal life. I have to say first, that the book is a good one: it is well written and has a certain poetical, philosophical feeling in the prose that I really gravitated toward and caused me to think deeply on the complexities of life. But I’d argue that that really isn’t a good feeling to have, especially with what Mishima is trying to convey through his writing. He presents a rather harsh and brutal view of life that doesn’t apply to modern times, and he does so with absolutely, positively no sense of humor. The story is simple: a young boy with a stutter finds solace and also a kind of living, breathing deity in a golden palace that he studies at in order to become a monk. He obsesses over it until the point where he loses sight of reality and dreams of being the one to destroy it. Reading the book, you get a strong sense that everything here is a joke that Mishima is the only one not in on it. The main character is not as bad as Holden Caulfield, but he is cut from the same cloth of solipsism and delusions of grandeur. But what the book says about being true to yourself, even when it is clearly going against what others think is right, is a good, yet risky ideology, but one that needs to be updated from the kinds of ancient and unhealthy thoughts that Mishima used to live his short life.