He was the third son of seven children. I would cut open my belly and die. This sense of betrayal later appeared in his writing. He married in February His wife, Yukari, was the daughter of film director Mansaku Itami and sister of film director Juzo Itami. The same year he met Mao Zedong on a trip to China.

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Shelves: fiction A mesmerising read. Mesmerising not in a beautiful, sweetly lyrical sense but gripping, dark and brutally frank.

Piercing, insightful metaphors and phrases abound. Alas, the one drawback was that I found the plot, based on a present day uprising aimed at reenacting another which happened a hundred years before, not very interesting in and of itself. It would have been better if the middle part, which dwelled a bit A mesmerising read. It would have been better if the middle part, which dwelled a bit too much on this, had been slightly shorter. Given the strength of the writing, I would have given this a 5.

Still, the last third did pick up the pace again and contained a few unexpected revelations. He goes into the pit to think. The position is symbolic, as everything is in this novel -- a graphic depiction of his psychological state and our place in the novel.

The world has become a septic tank and Mitsu is looking for a way out of the pit. Set in the early to mids, in a small town in Japan, the novel depicts the struggle of two brothers over the meaning of history and the future of their town. Each, it seems has been designated a role by history and the natural, horrific flows of the universe -- Mitsu, the role of the dispassionate establishment figure; Takashi, the role of the revolutionary figure and tragic martyr.

Relevant themes abound -- racism toward Koreans , a popular uprising, the shunning of intellectuals, the populist leader who leads by his gut, the thrill of revolution. In the figure of Takashi you can see shades of Trump or Dutertre -- over-stylized machismo, a fascination with violence and virility, and an intellectual vacuum in place of coherent ideology. The most compelling and touching aspect of the book is the relationship of the two brothers. The two often seem to have the power to save one another, but tragically are unable to because they inhabit worlds with irreconcilable worldviews.

The politics of the book are stylized with a macabre surrealism not unlike the work of HP Lovecraft. Terrible things lurk just out of vision and appear in unexpected places. Venereal diseases. These things stick out like warts in the first few pages and highlight the monstrous conditions of modern life. The characters appear with monstrous deformities and the habits of creatures -- a hermit, a character with a deformed eye, and a fat blob.

On a personal level, the book got me thinking about modernity and modern life. It seems all too often that modern life offers us up routines and functions in place of meaning. The book starts with the main character discovering that his friend has committed suicide by painting his face crimson, sticking a cucumber up his anus, and hanging himself. The dry, corporate platitudes that would then follow would only highlight the fact that most people were barely aware of who I was or what I did.

Luckily, I have no such inclinations. Besides, the whole thing seems to me a waste of a perfectly good cucumber. More than anything the book makes me thrilled that I lived to be an adult with a really bad literature addiction.


Kenzaburō Ōe

Plot[ edit ] The novel tells the story of two brothers in the early s: Mitsusaburo, the narrator, a one-eyed, married English professor in Tokyo ; and his younger brother Takashi, who has just returned from the US. Mitsusaburo and his wife Natsumi have been through a series of crises. Natsumi has become an alcoholic. Mitsusaburo remembers the affair differently, believing that the leader of the rebellion betrayed his followers.


The Silent Cry




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