Me-mushiri ko-uchi (Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids)

Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe's debut initially reminded me of Lord of the Flies, in which a group of pubescent shoolboys degenerate into tribal warfare. Here, however, the Japanese schoolkids, abandoned in a village in the wake of an epidemic, find food, feast, friendship and love where there's blood, shit, vomit, disease, hunger and violent death.
Full of distusting images, Oe's novel is not only unlike classical Japanese literature but also unlike most modern Western writing. I found it too allegorical to work on a story level for someone unfamiliar with the story of World War II Japan.

Posted by cronopio at 12:07 AM, February 03, 2003