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When thinking about novelist Yukio Mishima, what first comes to mind may be seppuku, the samurai death rite that involves ritual disembowelment. The more generous of us will perhaps think of a romantic despair over beauty, a theme that filled Mishima’s oeuvre.

The writer’s 1962 novel “Beautiful Star” features neither of those. Translated for the first time by Stephen Dodd and released by Penguin Press, it contains UFOs, extraterrestrials and missives on the absurdity of humankind.

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