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Forbidden Colours by Yukio Mishima

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Paperback. Penguin. 1968. New Condition.

From one of Japan's greatest modern writers comes an exquisitely disturbing novel of sexual combat and concealed passion, a work that distills beauty, longing, and loathing into an intoxicating poisoned cocktail. An aging, embittered novelist sets out to avenge himself on the women who have betrayed him. He finds the perfect instrument in Yuichi, a young man whose beauty makes him irresistible to women but who is just discovering his attraction to other men.

As Yuichi's mentor presses him into a loveless marriage and a series of equally loveless philanderings, his protégé enters the gay underworld of postwar Japan. In that hidden society of parks and tearooms, prostitutes and aristocratic blackmailers, Yuichi is as defenseless as any of the women he preys on. Mordantly observed, intellectually provocative, and filled with icy eroticism, Forbidden Colors is a masterpiece.