Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II. In the s, Kenzaburo Oe began regularly writing about a character based on his autistic son, Hikari. A Personal Matter, by Kenzaburo Oe. A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe Kenzaburo Oe in A Personal Matter. “Bird, gazing down at the map of Africa that reposed in the showcase with the.

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It is a wonderful feeling for a reader to read a book that has a strong ongoing plot with mature and very well build characters.

perspnal The Woman in the Dunes. When I entered seminary to begin studying for ministry I announed that I was an existentialist, although there was really no clear definition of what existentialism was.

The blurb on the cover announces that it is close to “a perfect contemporary novel.

It ultimately doesn’t matter whether the subject is gruesome, the main personao completely despicable, the culture foreign or how dated ,atter material is, how much of the beguiling effect is owed to the translation I don’t know, but I assume that it is based on an outstanding original.

Instead of submerging us in the pure pathos of its suffering characters, we get a brilliant and black personql comedy of dancing, skating life on a stage of thin ice. Bird worries that he might lose his job. It’s his easiest, most traditional narrative, strictly chronological, told by an ‘omniscient’ narrator whose omniscience is obviously a mask for the author’s projection of his own consciousness into his character named Bird. The book begins with Bird purchasing a map of Africa while his wife is in labor.

At the hospital where his wife has borne him a son, he learns that the baby has a brain aneurism and if it survives is likely to be severely handicapped. However, haunted kenzanuro the ordeal of his dying child, Bird is unable to achieve an erection at the mention of the word “pregnancy” and “womb” uttered by Himiko, and ends up resorting to the practice of BDSM.


These type of circumstances create a constant light on a life that we preferred to keep private.

This “coming of age” novel set in the early ‘s tells the mather of Bird, a young Japanese man facing both the imminent birth of his first child and what he believes to be the imminent loss of his dreams. Jan 06, Manik Sukoco rated it it was amazing. It seems this indisputable fact had eluded him so far. Every one, especially every parent.

After discussing the situation with the doctors who assure him there is little chance of any surgery to correct the situation being successfuland after taking the baby to a second hospital where tests will be done to determine the viability of surgeryBird visits his father-in-law to pass on the news.

A Personal Matter

A horrible question hangs over the book: Bird, the protagonist, is a young man of 27 with antisocial tendencies who more than once in his life, when confronted with a critical problem, has “cast himself adrift on a sea of whisky like a besotted Robinson Crusoe. Weak-willed and jittery, he refuses to accept the birth of a child with a grotesque lump on its head and crucial genetic deformities.

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The mother-in-law refuses even to make eye contact with Bird. He would have liked to flee his own body.

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The father is a man who had a bout with alcohol years ago that forced him to drop out of college. The narrative voice is good and the dialogue formation is flawless. Until the last chapter, however, this is a novel of such searing emotional terror that most readers will be grateful for its unexpected ‘hopeful’ ending.


A little while after, Bird goes to Himiko’s keznaburo and is proposed by her sexual intercourse, of which he agrees. He thinks, I’ve wasted my life, I don’t really want to be a father, I’m not as attractive to women as I used to be, blah blah blah I think one reason I love this book so much is because I really detested it when I started reading it.

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A Personal Matter Summary & Study Guide

Through the course of the narrative, Oe moves his personal matter subtly with political, social and existential thoughts concerning man’s being, his fear, dread, suffering, alienation, anguish and death.

I hope you never see this kind of pain, but if you do I hope you remember this book. My library Help Advanced Book Search. He’s laid open this abyss of humanity, right? It has happened to many of us who are weighed down by the ignominy we feel when the door to our lives is opened for all to see.

I had never read Oe, although I was aware that he had won the Nobel Prize.

A Personal Matter | The Japan Times

As Bird fails to keep his sobriety and is unfaithful to his wife, we are shown a portrait of the Defeatist as a young man, an image that is slightly relieved by a somewhat hopeful ending but still filled with haunting sentences that stay vy you. The relentless honesty with which Oe portrays his hero — or antihero — makes Bird one of the most unforgettable characters in recent perspnal.

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