Books: Night-Blooming Narcissus

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF YUKIO MISHIMA by HENRY SCOTT-STOKES 384 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

$10.

THE DECAY OF THE ANGEL by YUKIO MISHIMA Translated by EDWARD G. SEIDENSTICKER 236 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

During the '60s, journalists searching for a Western equivalent of Yukio Mishima used to mention Ernest Hemingway. It was a prophetic comparison, but they might as usefully have thought of Edgar Allan Poe reincarnated in Norman Mailer—a garish, night-blooming talent driven by an energetic sense of publicity. Mishima, the literary genius of Japan's postwar generation, often mentioned for the Nobel Prize, delighted in shock and contradiction. He possessed luminous and...

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