A very mature youth novel of self-discovering and awakening of a non-normative sexuality; introspection in the fashion of Rousseau’s Confessions plus literary and artistic delicacy: that was the story chosen for our periodic book club meeting this month, Confessions of a Mask (仮面の告白), by Yukio Mishima. Putting aside the biographical coincidences between Mishima and Kochan, we discussed the complex metaphorical work in the novel, the narrator’s fake sincerity disguised of literary romantic leitmotifs, the omnipresent intertextuality of Greek myths, Western and Japanese literatures, and the never-answered question about love and sexual desire with Kochan and Sonoko in their house with half-opened doors: “So then, what kind of desire was it that made me want to meet her so? Might it not be only self-deception again, this passion that so obviously was not sexual desire? In the first place, can there be such a thing as love that has no basis whatsoever in sexual desire?”.
Here is the podcast: