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  • Published: 10 October 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241441091
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $22.99

Beautiful Star

The novel Mishima considered to be one of his best works: a tale of family, nuclear war, love and UFOs

The Osugi family have come to a realization. Each of them hails from a different planet. Father from Mars, mother from Jupiter, son from Mercury and daughter from Venus. Already seen as oddballs in their small Japanese town in the 1960s, this extra-terrestrial knowledge brings them closer together; they climb mountains to wait for UFOs, study at home together and regard their human neighbours with a kindly benevolence.

But Father, Juichiro, is worried about the bomb. He writes letters to Khrushchev, trying to warn everyone he can of the terrible threat. After all, humans may be terribly flawed, but aren't they worth saving? He sends out a coded message in the newspaper to find other aliens. But there are other extra-terrestrials out there, ones who do not look so kindly on the flaws and foibles of humans. And a charming young man, who claims to be from Venus too, tempts daughter Akiko away from the family . . .

  • Published: 10 October 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241441091
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima was born in 1925 in Tokyo, and is considered one of the Japan's most important writers. His books broke social boundaries and taboos at a time when Japan found itself in a state of rapid social change. His interests, besides writing, included body-building, acting and practising as a Samurai. In 1970 he attempted to start a military coup, which failed. Upon realizing this, Mishima performed seppuku, a ritual suicide, upon himself. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature three times.

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Praise for Beautiful Star

Ordinary people harbour the grandest (and most terrible) thoughts in a cosmological fable as disconcerting as it is funny: behind the simplest actions lie visions of worlds in collision

Simon Ings, The Times

The Oscar Wilde of Japan ... one of Japan's great novelists ... his subtlety, warmth and wit shine through


A mixture of humour, high literary seriousness and flying saucers ... remarkable

Sam Leith, Spectator

Mishima is the Japanese Hemingway

Life Magazine

A writer of immense energy and ability

Time Out

One of the greatest avant-garde Japanese writers of the twentieth century

New Yorker

The wunderkind of the Japanese literary world ... an extraordinary literary talent

The Times Literary Supplement

Among Japan's most celebrated post-war authors

Little White Lies

Interplanetary, quite extraordinary ... a fusion of sci-fi and social satire with great pathos, awash with dark humour and scenes of intense beauty ... Mishima blends the sublime and ridiculous in provocative and surprising ways ... a fresh and limpid translation

Bryan Karetnyk, Financial Times

Moves from vividly described scenes of ordinary human life and the beauties of the natural world to arguments about human nature and whether peace is possible this side of death

Lisa Tuttle, Guardian Best Recent Science Fiction

Its humour may be the book's most brilliant trait ... intense and earnest, the novel contains plenty of Mishima's spectacular writing ... an impressive accomplishment by Dodd in conveying a sense of import, sophistication and mastery of prose

Eric Margolis, Japan Times

A delightfully strange, absorbing work. Full of humour and insight. Highly recommended

Irenosen Okojie

Strikingly different... Stephen Dodd's translation captures Mishima's dark humour, succinct style and dry wit

Vanora Bennett, The Times Literary Supplement

A brilliant black comedy following the Osugi family, who come to the understanding that they are each from a different planet. This new knowledge strengthens their bond while solidifying a mission: to seek others of their kind and save humanity from the looming threat of the atomic bomb. This is an insightful, moving read. Mishima deserves a wider readership

Irenosen Okojie, The i

Set in the early 1960s, this bonkers story of aliens trying to save mankind from nuclear war is told from the perspective of one family, all of whom come from a different planet. It's a biting social satire that's utterly transporting

Sunday Times Best Books for Summer 2023