Kenzaburo Oe The Silent Cry

ISBN 13: 9780870112324

The Silent Cry

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9780870112324: The Silent Cry
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The Silent Cry traces the uneasy relationship between two brothers who return to their ancestral home, a village in densely forested western Japan. While one brother tries to sort out the after-effects of a friend's suicide and the birth of a retarded son, the other embarks on a quixotic mission to incite an uprising among the local youth. Oe's description of this brother's messianic struggle to save a disintegrating local culture and economy from the depredations of a Korean wheeler-dealer called "The Emperor of the Supermarkets" is as chillingly pertinent today as it was when first published in 1967. Powerful and daring, The Silent Cry is a thoroughly compelling classic of world literature.

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Review:

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)

Book Description:

Japanese Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe's most important novel

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781781255650: The Silent Cry (Serpent's Tail Classics)

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ISBN 10:  1781255652 ISBN 13:  9781781255650
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