is probably a good book (and glowing reviews in various newspapers and magazines indicate that a number of critics think it is), but it is not for everyone, and it was not for me. The book is pulled along with a compelling plot that frequently startled me with its eerie twists and sharp revelations. The novel primarily concerns Kogito, a well-regarded Japanese writer, his wife, Chikashi, an artist, and Goro, Chikashi's brother and Kogito's childhood friend. The novel opens just after Goro has jumped to his death, and it seems at first that the ensuing action will seek to explain why he has committed suicide, but gradually the mysteries widen and extend backward in time. When Kogito and Goro were just boys and they disappeared for two days, what happened to forever change Goro upon his return?
I didn't actually realize at first that I was reading a...
Beyond the Book
About the Author
Kenzaburo Oe was born in 1935 in the remote mountain village of Ose on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands. Oe is considered one of the most dynamic and revolutionary writers to have emerged in Japan since World War II, and is acknowledged as the first truly modern Japanese writer. He is known for his powerful accounts of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and his struggle to come to terms with a mentally handicapped son. His dark musings on moral failure came to symbolize an alienated generation in postwar Japan. Oe's influences and literary heroes are less Japanese than American and European, ranging from Henry Miller to Jean-Paul...