“A formidable scholar and intellectual whose novels express the moral soul- searching of postwar Japan.” — The Boston Globe “A major feat of the imagination. But as always with Oe, the story is only the beginning. The Silent Cry, by Kenzaburo Oe pages. Serpent’s Tail, Fiction. Oe had strong links. Kenzaburo Oe was born in in the remote mountain village of Ose on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Oe is considered one of the most.

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Two brothers, Takashi and Mitsu, return from Tokyo to the village of their childhood. The selling of their family home leads them to an inescapable confrontation with their family history. Their attempt to escape the influence of the city ends in failure as they realize that its tentacles extend to everything in the countryside, including their own relationship.

Kenzaburo Oe is one of the great writers of the century and The Silent Cry is his masterpiece. Paperbackpages. Published by Kodansha first published Mitsusaburo NedokoroTakashi Nedokoro. To os what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Aidan I wouldn’t describe The Silent Cry with the word ‘enjoyable’. Neither do I agree with some people that this was a ‘difficult’ read. It’s not …more I wouldn’t describe The Silent Cry with the word ‘enjoyable’. It’s not difficult, and it’s not enjoyable.

But neither is it unpleasant, or easy. Those are not the qualities that apply to this book. See 1 question about The Silent Cry…. Lists with This Book. Both left their respectable remote home in the forested valley of Shikoku years before, but return to take part in the sale of their land and ancestral storehouse to a Korean supermarket boss, or emperor as he kenzabur viewed.

Both brothers get caught up in a rather distressing state of affairs, with locals, themselves more than anything, loved ones, and a past best left in the history books.

The story itself is multi-layered, driven forward with anguish and foreboding, but also with a lingering hope and sense of redemption. There are many bleak passages of writing that were fiercely alarming, but just so well written after a somewhat laboured opening, while the overall tone of the narrative felt like a cloak of darkness, with just a tiny opening for letting the sun of a morning horizon seduce your eyes, to witness a beauty through the engulfing chaos.

There is a significant subplot, mostly revealed through reminiscences, about the history of the village and the boys family during the past one hundred years or so, it’s murky and unclear to grasp hold of this side of proceedings at first, and only becomes more apparent by silen end, however for me at least, I still felt slightly unsure oenzaburo the satisfactory answers.

Under normal circumstances this novel may for some feel a little contrived, had it been set in a country other than Japan it would probably would be, I find with most Japanese literature there is something buried deep inside that’s difficult to fully comprehend for kenzaburro outsider, but that never falls into the category of monotony reading.

For me, I believe Oe’s Nobel prize was fully justified for his insight and humanity, and there was enough in the meaning and quality of the writing here that tells me this undoubtedly is rightly viewed as a masterpiece of postwar Japanese fiction, tainted with an irreparably spirited notion of being written in ancestral blood.


View all 8 comments. Oct 25, Zak rated it really liked it Shelves: Mesmerising not in a beautiful, sweetly lyrical sense but gripping, dark and brutally frank. Piercing, insightful metaphors and phrases abound.

The Silent Cry | The Japan Times

The opening chapter was so amazing, I thought I had found another ‘Vegetarian’. Alas, the one drawback was that I found the plot, based on kenxaburo 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 to 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 cfy third did pick up the pace again and contained a few unexpected revelations.

Sep 05, J. This is a very difficult read, not as in ‘dense’ but as in ‘unpleasant’. And made no easier by the author’s resolve to lead the narrative to the most intentionally uncomfortable places he can imagine; there is to be no outlet or uplift at any point in the novel, and we can tell from the first few pages.

For the rest of the book we will be encircled by fear, constraint, control, fate and deep mood swings. A list of same would be too much in a review, but pick a form eknzaburo violence, a human failing, a deformity of nature, an offense against society, against family, incest, suicide– it’s here, but meant in kenzaburoo broader, umbrella sense. His concerns are the philosophical structures of the Japanese national persona, and the inherited national flaws he sees. The Japanese in were still trying to make sense of the links between the hyperloyalist shogun tradition, the authoritarian cult of empire, and the cabin-fever shock and guilt that made the postwar era so unstable.

We feel the infantilized shame and post-fascist surreality of Witold Gombrowicz in the proceedings. And maybe some Beckett, as well; there is a sleepwalker’s logic to the course of the book, in fulfillment of what can only be said to be pre-ordained. The failures here, though, are the inability to balance the shock of the distasteful with the familiarity of the obvious, in the way that Beckett was able to do, at once deft and disarming.

Kenzaburi on the negative side of the equation, there is plenty here that is kind of wifty-cosmic ala Vonnegut, or deliberately obtuse, grotesque in a way we’d now recognize as the tactic of director David Lynch.

The onslaught of intimidation and dread the narrator feels bounces back and forth from an internalization of events to the formation of a complex analogy of those same, or similar, outside occurrences. The string of disaster and violence our author observes from day to day becomes a kind of personal ‘disgrace loop’ for which he blames himself.

And in analyzing and agonizing about that blame, the dishonorable flaws of the society are reflected. And in taking the blame, back around the loop again. It must also be noted that the author’s own biography mirrors at least some of what goes on. A disabled child wasn’t just a fiction for this book; the author was father to a similar case.

He met with Mao Tse Tung. A thorough study of the novel would include at least some familiarity with the author’s intriguing biographical details. There is a desolate sense here that the more reasonable the man, the worse and more relentless the nightmares he must internalize.

And Hiroshima towers blackly above the entire conception here, mentioned only once or twice, but crackling like an electric current at the edges. Closing the back cover on this book, emerging from the ‘disgrace loop’, feels like walking out of a prison. A prison of blunted, hurtful ambiguities. View all 4 comments. Dec 25, Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing. 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.

The Silent Cry

Each, it seems has been kenzabkro 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 Koreansa 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. These things stick out like warts in the first few pages tue 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.


kenzabuto 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 cru 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. Mar 13, David rated it it was amazing Shelves: What did I think I was doing? Kenzaburo must be the most honest man on the planet. I have no idea how his friends and family can live with his writing.

Yukio Mishima said something nice for the dust jacket, but I bet he winced his way through this. It’s like Oe knew. I haven’t found anything by Oe secondhand, so he’s cost me a fortune and I can’t afford anymore. It’s probably best to have a break. But I really want to read “Seventeen”! I also really want to read all of “Seventeen”, and that’s impossible because the rightists won’t let us.

But I’ve just realised that I don’t know whether they are playing association football, which I thought Japan called “sakka” socceror American football. Isn’t John Nathan American