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Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age!
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Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age!

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  328 ratings  ·  35 reviews
"K is a famous writer living in Tokyo with his wife and three children, the oldest of whom was born with a brain anomaly that has left him mentally disabled. A highly cerebral man who often retreats from real life into abstraction - in this case, the poetry of William Blake - K is confronted by his wife with the reality that this child, Eeyore, has been saying and doing di ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2003 by Atlantic Books (first published 1983)
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Stephen Durrant
Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote this novel in 1986, but it was only translated and published in 2002. To appreciate "Rouse Up" fully, one must know that Oe has a seriously brain-damaged son, Hikari, who is also a musical prodigy. In fact, some describe "Rouse Up" as "semi-autobiographical," although the translator John Nathan notes in his brief but helpful "postface," that simply equating the narrator to Oe and Eeyore, the brain-damaged child, to Oe's son Hikar ...more
He's getting lots of what he needs from William Blake, which is positive and good to know. But I don't think I've caught the Blake bug from Oe. Too much God and the Bible? And the first stanza of 'Jerusalem' reminds me of the evil Daily Mail and its famous "headlines to which the answer is obviously 'no'": "And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England's mountain green?" vs. "Does breast cancer screening do more harm than good?"

But when this book was about Eeyore and family life, it was
Reading this book by Kenzaburo Oe could be regarded as another fictive work depicting how he and his family have nurtured his son Eeyore "born with a brain anomaly that has left him mentally disabled" (front flap); I first came across this name 'Eeyore' in one of his short novels entitled "Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness". To cope with this lingering, enigmatic problem, he has interestingly weaved his tormenting plight with the poetry by William Blake empowered by his fatherly care and willingne ...more
There's a reason I don't typically like reading memoirs. From what I know about Oe's life, this isn't so much a work of fiction as a memoir with which he has taken a few liberties. I don't doubt that what Oe and his son go through daily is difficult. But it's not something I particularly care to read about in a novel. It feels oddly self-indulgent, though the focus is really more on Eeyore. And here's the other thing: I don't really care about William Blake. So. Between Oe's relationship with hi ...more
Ismael Galvan
The day the governor toured among his constituents and the police chief had lashed my father with his tongue and driven him to make a spectacle of his labor, what if, in the instant, the emperor's proclamation of the war's end had blared from a radio across the entire valley? Then my intrepid father in his cotton smock would have raised his hatchet high in his right hand and ordered the police chief and the governor to take their places at the crank handles and to begin the crunching and clankin ...more
Paul Fulcher
As with much of Oe's fiction, the book heavily features the relationship of father with his mentally-handicapped and musically-talented son, based closely on Oe's actual situation. Compared to some of his other works the father/son relationship here is at the absolute core of the novel, rather than part of the plot, and indeed the work, told by the father as a first person narrator, is written as if it were autobiographical non-fiction.

However, as the translator John Nathan, points out in a ver
This is what the French call a tour de force. I believe that's French for a tour of 'force', a Jedi ability that taps into pure potential and imagination (who knew the French were such nerds).
The "novel", if you can call it that, is a breathtaking study of the lives of two people who are completely intertwined, the author and his son. The honesty drips off of every page and makes this a stunning chronicle of a man's life with a mentally disabled child. The way he relates William Blake's poems an
Oe is a fantastic writer and this is my first exposure to him...I get the impression he writes over the same 2 or 3 things (that is an admirable trait- for me- to see in an artist, an obsessive quality) and this book ties together his themes, his own past, his present life with his handicapped son and how the overlap with his art and intellectual pursuits in this case: Blake... a thoughtful and compulsively readable novel of ideas and how those ideas explode into scenes of wonder and beauty and ...more
I picked this book up on a whim after reading about it on one of my favorite book blogs and being drawn to its poetic title (from a work by William Blake). This was my introduction to Nobel Prize winner, Kenzaburo Oe. I’m not going to be able to do justice to this book, but still wanted to capture my thoughts on it. The book is about a father, a writer, who tries to write up a dictionary of all that his mentally-handicapped son needs to know about life. All throughout, he meditates on the ways i ...more
Apr 06, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone in the goddamn world
Shelves: best-books-ever
For a very brief period I was trying to read books by Nobel Prize winners. While I thought Coetzee's Disgrace was good but not mind blowing, Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age became my new favorite book. I'm not sure how much of it is autobiographical, but like the author the main character, K, has a son, Eeyore, who was born with a growth on his head and developmental disabilities. While K seems detached from his two other children, he is almost obsessed with raising Eeyore. There's not much ...more
Interesting--his method of interaction with Blake was very alien (not sure if it's a cultural thing, a poet vs. fiction writer thing, or just a very different readerly interaction), but I enjoyed the novelty of the narrative structure and the main character's very personal/intimate incorporation of Blake's poetry.

Didn't like how claustrophobic the main character, K, gets...obviously, in first-person narratives it's common for the narrative to focus in, sometimes in the extreme, on the values/th
Emma Moffitt
A lot of this book went over my head given I know very little about Japans recent history. I also have no interest in Blake. However I am giving it 4 stars anyway because the description of the relationship between the father and his autistic son (which I believe are semi-autobiographical) was so moving and beautifully portrayed.
A fairly engaging read for the the most part, although I am largely unfamiliar with Blake and his oeuvre, so I feel a lot of that went over my head.
3.5 stars. A novel in the form of a memoir that borrows heavily from the author's life. The emotional punch isn't nearly as visceral as some of his other novels, but the introspection is fascinating - especially with respect to his relationship to his son.
this is the first book that I've borrowed at the library in my new town. I chose it because I wanted something different and thought that winning a Nobel Prize in Literature must be indicative of its readability. Well, I can't finish it. Perhaps I'm learning something new about myself - this is supposed to be a poignant tale of a father's relationship with his mentally handicapped son and I just can't get myself interested enough to finish it. Perhaps it's that I don't really care for William Bl ...more
Sarah Stone
Kenzaburo Oe -- what a strange, marvelous, one-of-a-kind mind he has. This novel, wonderful and right at the edge of unendurable, would be splendid in an extreme fathering lit course, taught alongside The Road and Disgrace. (If you wanted to make it an extreme caretaking course, you could add in Blindness.)

Of course, if you put all of these books one right after the other, the students would, very properly, come after you with pitchforks, but what a lot they would learn first...and perhaps they'
Carlos Hugo Winckler Godinho
Gostei bastante, porém a leitura funcionaria melhor pra mim se ele fizesse um pouco menos de referências ao Blake. Três estrelas, mas quase quatro.
I give it a 4.5, this is so far my favorite Oe book. It has a lot of the same elements as A Personal Matter, A Quiet Life and The Silent Cry, in that it is a fictional piece based on himself, his brain damaged son, his concerns about the nuclear age, the legacy of WW II, but this book seems the most humane. Throughout the book he uses his love of Blake's poetry to reveal truths about himself and his son.
This is a very interesting book but I feel like I missed something. Maybe not, I guess that's my problem? I'd still read other books by this author.
Julia Boechat Machado
Um narrador que tem certas semelhanças com o autor se obceca com William Blake, com a era nuclear e com a idéia de escrever um livro que explique o mundo ao seu filho autista - mas só consegue explicar a palavra pé.
O primeiro livro que li de Oë, e com certeza me deu vontade de ler outros.
O filho do autor é deficiente mental e também um prodígio da música.
Krishna Avendaño
¡Despertad, oh jóvenes de la nueva era!, título recogido de la poesía de William Blake, a través de la cual el autor establece paralelismos con su vida, es una elegante novela autobiográfica intelectual, esperanzadora y sobre todo fundamental para tener un panorama más amplio y comprender la literatura del más grande escritor japonés.
Really unlike any book I have read before, an interesting inner monologue of a father, about the interaction in his mind of what his analysis of Blake and what he thinks about his relationship with his son. Very introspective main character. Possibly would have enjoyed it more if I'd ever read any Blake.
Christopher John
I have never been as captivated by writing style as in this book.
Feb 06, 2011 Aaron marked it as to-read
Shelves: gave-up
Was great, just not in the mood right now. Maybe again later. It's really interesting to hear the change in voice in 'Rouse Up...' compared to Oe's 'Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids,' (having only read that one so far and right before this book). Another day...
Joseph Volk
My favorite of the 3 books I've read by Oe. The voice was unpredictable and rich and the ways in whicih Oe wove his interaction with William Blake's work into the narrative represented exactly the sort of critical thought I find most useful.
I have to read this book again because he says something very compelling about violence - I thought, this is it! The explanation! - at one point and I can't remember a spec of it. There are some very funny moments and some treasures.
Deeply personal and analytic - though a bit wordy, still reads quickly. Felt like you had to have a deep appreciation for William Blake's poetry to completely understand and relate to the author.
This was one of the 2003 RUSA Notable Books winners. For the complete list, go to
Santiago Perez
este tipo de libros es para personas con un coeficiente intelectual muy elevado, parece interesante , pero como nunca lei a blake, no entendi mucho.
Painfully beautiful and mind-expanding. A lovely thunder-storm that incurs a great deal of damage.
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PNWJETAA Book Club: Rouse up! 1 1 Apr 07, 2013 09:27PM  
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  • And Then
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  • God's Fool
  • The Complete Works of Isaac Babel
  • Toddler-Hunting & Other Stories
  • The Sea and Poison
  • The Ruined Map
  • The Old Capital
  • Tirano Banderas
  • Blue Bamboo: Japanese Tales of Fantasy
  • Rashomon
  • Quesadillas
  • Lovely Green Eyes
Kenzaburō Ōe (大江 健三郎), is a major figure in contemporary Japanese literature. His works, strongly influenced by French and American literature and literary theory, engage with political, social and philosophical issues including nuclear weapons, social non-conformism and existentialism.

Ōe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994 for creating "an imagined world, where life and myth condens
More about Kenzaburō Ōe...
A Personal Matter Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids The Silent Cry Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels A Quiet Life

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