This is a collection of stories by Yukio Mishima, showcasing stories such as 'Onnagata', 'A List of Bridges', 'The Priest of Shiga Temple and His Love', 'Patriotism', 'Death in Midsummer', 'Sunday', 'Fountains in the Rain' and 'Pearl'.
The aim was to show Mishima's versatility, but I must say it was an interesting test for me as a reader.
I felt drawn to more philosophical stories, such as 'A List of Bridges' (an atmospheric and dark story of determination and sense of superiority, and of how what we consider our dreams turn out to be merely cliches), or 'The Priest of Shiga Temple and His Love' (a story Paulo Coelho should read each morning and evening, and then weep).
I quite liked the 'lighter' stories in the collection: satirical 'Sunday' bored me a little, but I liked the subversiveness of 'Fountains in the rain' and the way "Pearl' represented the concept of saving face. But I had a huge problem with what supposedly was the core of the collection: 'Patriotism' (the single story Mishima believed should be read as representative of his style and concerns), 'Onnagata', and 'Death in Midsummer'.
The latter combines oppressiveness and detachment, and features quite a lot of telling in relation to showing (an important feature of Mishima's writing technique, I presume). 'Onnagata' is intelligent, written with perceptiveness and a degree of sympathy; characters come alive, there is still much telling to aid the showing, but I accept it as a part of the convention.
'Patriotism' - I had mixed feelings, to put it mildly. It is almost too pretty, and authentically gruesome at once. It is kitchy and propagandistic; saccharine in its idealised portrayal of female focaliser, and yet at least to some degree realistic. Not to mention ominous.