About the Author
Kenzaburo Oe is Japan's most important living writer. Born in 1935 on the island of Shikoku, Oe studied literature at Tokyo University before spending the sixties in Paris where he came under the influence of Sartre. After his debut novel, he wrote a string of books dissecting contemporary Japan, including Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness, Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age!, The Pinch Runner Memorandum
and the essay collection Hiroshima Notes
, on the impact on Japan's national psyche of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.
He lives in Tokyo with his wife and his eldest son Hikari, who was born with severe brain damage; many of the narrators in Oe's fiction have brain-damaged children, most notably in the semi-autobiographical novel A Personal Matter
. He won the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature.
--This text refers to the paperback
The second novel to appear in English by Kenzaburo Oe, a major writer of Japan's postwar generation, repeats many situations from A Personal Matter (1968) in a more suggestive, more intricately webbed philosophical novel. While Oe is more conventional than the older Kobo Abe, he's also an intellectual maze-maker of overlapping social and mythic systems. The Silent Cry explores the ideological conflict of two modern, cosmopolitan brothers who might be the two hemispheres of the Japanese mind. Taka, a former student activist, is impulsive, given to violence and obsessed with self-punishment and death. Mitsu, through whose one good eye we view the events of the novel, is "objective," establishmentarian, introspective - already depressed by the institutionalization of a brain-damaged baby and the bizarre and puzzling suicide of his best friend (an overriding motif) when Taka suggests they return to the village of their birth to "find their roots" by studying their ancestry and to "begin a new life." When Taka organizes the local young men in an uprising, Mitsu unmasks him as a pathetic game-player, forcing Taka's own suicidal hand. But postclimactic events reveal that the magnificent gesture (one thinks of Mishima) is the only means to purpose or progress, that legend and fact are indistinguishable. Oe is dense, analytical, with a highly modern self-consciousness, though there's real nostalgia here for the dying traditions of pre-Westernized supermarket culture. A picture of fragmenting identity and social breakdown as brutalizing as the 20th century itself. (Kirkus Reviews)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.