Kenzaburo Oe

A Personal Matter

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From the Nobel Prize–winning author: “One of the great short novels of the 20th century” (The Wall Street Journal).
Internationally acclaimed as one of the world’s most influential writers, Kenzaburō Ōe brings to the fore the post-WWII rage and anxiety of a decorous society in this “deathly black comedy . . . dripping with nuclear terror” (The Japan Times).
Bird is an antisocial twenty-seven-year-old intellectual hanging on to a failing marriage with whiskey. He dreams of going to Africa where the sky sprawls with possibilities. Then, as though walloped by a massive invisible fist, Bird’s Utopian fantasies are shattered when his wife gives birth to what he calls their “monster baby.” Now, Bird is left with one question: How can he and his wife spend the rest of their lives with this damaged thing clinging to their backs?
As shameful, disgraceful, and unthinkable a desire as it is, Bird has an answer. Not sealed. Not just yet. Not before Bird flees on a bender of indiscriminate (and frustratingly impotent) sex, hard liquor, self-delusion, and most terrifying of all—self-discovery.
“Very close to a perfect contemporary novel.” —The New York Times
“An astonishing novel.” —Mother Jones
This book is currently unavailable
237 printed pages
Original publication
2011
Publication year
2011
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Quotes

  • michihas quotedlast year
    That’s where you’re wrong, Bird. You should have become either a tough villain or a tough angel, one or the other.”
  • michihas quotedlast year
    “There wasn’t a single thing left in the world that I could justifiably assert my right to, it was that kind of feeling.
  • Francisco Samourhas quoted2 years ago
    We were most confused and disappointed by the fact that the Emperor had spoken in a human voice, no different from any adult’s.

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