Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Una cuestión personal” as Want to Read:
Una cuestión personal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Una cuestión personal

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,933 Ratings  ·  470 Reviews
Revelación literaria en los años cincuenta, Kenzaburo Oé quedó consagrado como el mejor novelista japonés de la generación posterior a Yukio Mishima desde los años sesenta y se ha afirmado que recuerda a Dante, William Blake y Malcom Lowry. "Una cuestión personal", una de sus mejores y más crueles novelas, animada de una extraña violencia interior, cuenta la terrible odise ...more
Paperback, Compactos #188, 192 pages
Published April 2nd 2000 by Anagrama (first published 1964)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Una cuestión personal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Una cuestión personal

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Reading A Personal Matter is nothing less than an agonizing experience.
It almost feels like somebody poking at and opening up our most secret, suppurating, psychological wounds and making them bleed all over again, thereby compelling us to wake up to the realization of their existence.
These scars and bruises make their presence known time and again by causing us pain of the highest order. And so we proceed to wrap them up in the protective wadding of false pretensions, carefully hiding them aw
Paul Bryant
People love this damn book but I wanted to climb inside the pages and tip our hero into a cement mixer so he could become part of the foundations of the new Tokyo and therefore perform the only useful act in his miserable life. I mean, fucking hell, get a grip.
Mar 13, 2015 Nicole~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You and I exist in alternate different forms in countless other universes...
At each of those moments you survived in one universe and left your own corpse behind in another.

- Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

Bird, the protagonist, is confronted by a grave problem, a problem that threatens his future freedom in life - a deformed baby. He is devastated by a sense of shame since he has just fathered a monster baby and feels trapped with unforeseen, unwanted responsibilities. In the face of his grotes
Jul 31, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Shavit B.
Shelves: lovedlovedloved, 2008
I think one reason I love this book so much is because I really detested it when I started reading it. Like, I really really hated the main character. The book starts off with this 20-something college professor named Bird, who is wandering the streets after drinking in a bar. His wife is in the hospital having a child, and Bird is enjoying a mud bath of self-hatred. 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 ...more
Nov 23, 2015 Ahmed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

يمكن آخر 3 صفح بس اللى عجبوني


B5ptymXCcAA-gAB.jpg - 56.00 KB

مقدمة مقتبسة من مقال اللاشيء المقدس المنشور في جريدة الشروق بتاريخ ديسمبر للكاتب أحمد عبدربه أستاذ العلوم السياسية بجامعة القاهرة

فى ثلاثينيات القرن الماضى كان الإمبراطور اليابانى «هيروهيتو» فى أوج قوته وعظمته أو هكذا بدى للناس، لم يكن مجرد حاكم لكنه كان نصف إله يأمر فيطاع، كان أبناء هذا الجيل من اليابانيين يعتقدون انه ابن الإله أو ظله فى الأرض، فهو عطية السماء لليابانيين. فى تلك الحقبة وصلت اليابان إلى أوج قوتها الاستعمارية، مطورة أسلحة وأساطيل عسكرية نافست بها الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا، قام ا
Deniz Balcı
Jan 21, 2016 Deniz Balcı rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japon-edebiyatı
Kenzaburo Oe, Japonya'nın Kavabata ile birlikte Nobel ödüllü büyük yazarlarından biri. "Kişisel Bir Sorun"da başyapıtı olarak görülen en tanınmış eseri. Yazar eseri 1964'de yazıyor. Kendisi de engelliği bir çocuğa sahip olan Oe, bu kitapta beyinden engelli bir çocuk sahibi olan babanın, çocukla hesaplaşması, sahiplenme korkusu, hatta onu omuzlarında bir kambur olarak görmesi üzerine bir hikaye anlatıyor. Oldukça karanlık bir öykü bu. Başkarakter Bird, hepimizin kolayca empati kurabileceği birisi ...more
Oct 09, 2007 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you've never read this one and you're looking for a shortish novel that rocked hard enough to win the dude the Nobel Prize, something you can read before the weekend ends, something with serious existential, historical, and cultural HEFT, but also relatively easy reading, here ya go. I taught this in a lit class last fall and several students said it was the best book they'd ever read. Easily in the top ten for me. When people talk about "perfect" novels, an idea I totally glower at, I think ...more
Manik Sukoco
Jan 06, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a perfect example of how good writing conquers all. It ultimately doesn't matter whether the subject is gruesome, the main character completely despicable, the culture foreign or how dated the 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.

What to make of a young man whose wife has just delivered their first baby (while he was having a showdown with a street gang) and who responds to his
Niles Stanley
This was the first book by Oe that I've read, and it was fantastic. I was shocked at how disgustingly honest Bird was with the reader, who is an obvious parallel to a younger Oe, who has a brain damaged child of his own, although when this was written, it was unclear how the child would develop as he grew up, which is how I think Oe managed to put the ending of A Personal Matter as he did.

The story is essentially an extreme study of morals within the main character, who is a tragic character wh
Feb 18, 2008 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious readers
I had never read Oe, although I was aware that he had won the Nobel Prize. The blurbs on the cover report that this is his most popular book, published around the time I graduated from college in the late sixties. I didn't know what to expect, but was surprised to discover a Japanese existentialist, a student of twentieth century French extentialist literature. His writing style reflects the influence of Sartre, Camus, and Beckett. I had read considerable French existentialism during my college ...more
Scott Forbes
There is no doubt in my mind that A Personal Matter is a skilfully executed piece of literature. And I hated reading it. The main character, Bird, is a 27 year old who dreams of going to Africa. When his son is born with a brain hernia, he is faced with deciding between surgery for his son (which may or may not allow him to develop normally) and preventing the surgery and allowing the baby to die.

Maybe it’s because I’m a young father myself, but the very idea that Bird would even consider allowi
Lindsay D
the end was grotesquely simple, i was a little offended that i read through 160 pages wanting to know what the characters would figure out and ended up with that...
Mike Ingram
Feb 04, 2009 Mike Ingram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly tight existentialist story about moral choices. Really my only complaint has to do with the last 3-4 pages, and it's hard to talk about those pages in any specific detail without giving away the book's ending. I was totally on board up to and including the moment in which Bird makes his choice, but I could have lived without the "flash forward" scene that came next, and revealed the repercussions of that choice. The choice itself seemed to be the thing that was important, a choice made ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Tasos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το οπισθόφυλλο αναφέρει πως ο Μπερντ είναι ένας από τους πιο συγκλονιστικούς ήρωες της παγκόσμιας μυθιστοριογραφίας. Κάπως υπερβολικό, ταυτόχρονα όμως και δίκαιο, αφού ο Όε (του οποίου διαβάζω βιβλίο για πρώτη φορά) πλάθει έναν χαρακτήρα αμιγώς ιαπωνικό ως προς το αίσθημα τιμής και αξιοπρέπειας που τον διακρίνει, παγκόσμιο όμως και καθολικό ως προς τα υπαρξιακά διλήμματα που αντιμετωπίζει. Το γεγονός πως το βιβλίο είναι εν μέρει αυτοβιογραφικό (ο γιος του συγγραφέα γεννήθηκε κι αυτός με εγκεφαλι ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Yossi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He sufrido leyendo este libro, un espejo al abismo de lo más oscuro del ser humano, un personaje despreciable, de principio a final que a mi mode de ver no logra redimirse pero ese lado existe y volver la cara es de necios. ¿Recomendarla? Sí, pero con muchas reservas.
Apr 15, 2015 Jorge rated it really liked it
Independientemente de la amoralidad, de la falta de valores o de lo despreciable que nos pueda parecer el personaje principal de la novela llamado “Bird”, la verdad es que el autor crea a un personaje profundamente humano, lleno de defectos: mezquino, egoísta y vil. Un ser vicioso y miserable; en fin crea a un ser como hay muchos sobre nuestro planeta. La obra en sí misma me ha parecido estupenda, ya que plantea un tema sumamente escabroso y lo hace con apertura y a veces hasta con cinismo; abor ...more
WARNING: May contain triggers for those who have experienced rape.

I've written before about how novellas sometimes sneak up on me, taking a while to build up and becoming truly engaging just as they're about to end. I suppose that one sure-fire way to avoid this syndrome is to start your novella like Kenzaburo Oe's A Personal Matter: full-throttle intensity from the first page, when the atmosphere of subtly grotesque alienation is already fully developed, and the reader seems to be thrust down i
Jun 09, 2012 Amantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointing read. We are immediately introduced to the protagonist, Bird, and his internal struggles: his wife is at this very moment giving birth to their first child. While this may seem to be a joyous occasion, Bird feels it is a symbol of his loss of youth and freedom. Bird wants nothing more than to travel to Africa one day, but starting a family will be expensive, plus Bird seems to have trouble holding onto his money for more than five minutes. He spends it frequently throughout ...more
Jul 23, 2010 ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a darker coming of age novel...I would like to compare it to Catcher in the Rye because of the general shape of the plot: a young man receiving bad news and then trying to avoid dealing with it. But, unlike Catcher in the Rye it lacks the humor.

Bird is drawn honestly, warts, and all and I think this offends many readers. I might say this is perhaps the most honest portrait of a young man facing a life and role as a husband and father he doesn't really want. He has all the classic symptom
Jackson Burnett
Kenzaburo Oe's protagonist, Bird, suffers an existential crisis when his wife gives birth to child with severe birth defects. A Personal Matter is an unpleasant but very powerful novel.

Bird spends his time in a bar while his wife delivers his baby whom he refers to as a "monster." Bird has an affair and refuses to see the child in the hospital. He feels nothing but defeat and frustration with no legitimate concern for his offspring or spouse. Ultimately, Bird must choose between life or death fo
Mar 13, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've often thought of Oe as having this sort of David Lynch quality. Comparisons to Eraserhead are inevitable here. We have the deformed child slowly getting sicker, the reluctant father, the absent mother, the icy and terrifying realms of medicine and technology, the web of sexuality and alienation... Reading A Personal Matter is a constant downward spiral into the darker areas of modernity. I love shit like this. Maybe you don't. Your tolerance for grotesquerie entirely determines your opinion ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Leonor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this book; Which is why I sort of devoured it in three/four days. There's just something really unique about japanese literature. Trust me, there is. And it has to do, mostly, with the fact that you can sense a very complex sensibility and deep understanding of live and human behavior. This book is mainly about choices, about what makes us move, about what makes us stop. I loved it. And I recomment it. I do. Can't wait to read some more books by this lovely author :)
Daria Ravlic
Apr 14, 2016 Daria Ravlic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Odličan, mjestimično morbidan roman inspiriran događajem iz autorova života koji se poigrava s emocijama čitatelja. Bird je sanjar koji sanja o putovanju u Afriku, učitelj je u školi, živi naizgled mirnim životom dok mu se ne rodi dijete s teškom deformacijom mozga nakon čega on na sve moguće načine pokušava pobjeći od stvarnosti, od istine. Nakon prvog šoka, suočavanja s tom činjenicom i prihvaćanja tragedije, svjedočimo Birdovom strahu, stidu ("metastazama stida"), izgubljenosti, beznađu, poma ...more
Asher Deep
I've seen quite a few people display their disgust at the book and its main character; also seen quite a few people complain that there's no humor in this book; I personally couldn't understand both those complaints.

First, humor, albeit dark, is present throughout the book; whether it's the scene with the doctors or whether it's most of the scenes with our main character, Bird. The way the humor balances the dark subject matter of the book. I'm in awe at how Oe managed to blend the lightness and
Salma Hasan
Aug 14, 2015 Salma Hasan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أن تكتب رواية بهذه الدقة المتناهية في الجمال هو أن تكون على نفس درجة الدقة في الوعي. الوعي بأدق التعرجات التي هي مسار الحياة داخل رؤوسنا، أو قلوبنا. الإنسان وعاء مغلق، شديد الإنغلاق على الكيفية التي يحدث بها كإنسان، كوجود.. هذا الوعي الدقيق ممثلًا في رواية، بضعة أيام من حياة إنسان مفرودةً على مائتي صفحة، من الداخل.. الداخل الأشعث الكثيف.. هذا الوعي بهذا الإشراق الذي ينفرج في النهاية إليه، هو وعي لم يكن لينعم إليه الكاتب سوى بالكتابة، سوى بالإسترسال في القص، أكثر وأكثر، يتعرف على ذاته، على إمكانا ...more
May 18, 2013 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
Reading this novel by Kenzaburo Oe was nearly a mission impossible to me. On August 11 last year, I started reading it, reached Chapter 4 and quitted there. I didn't find it readable enough to find any motive to read any farther, it was seemingly hopeless to read more till I could make it with his 13-chapter "The Silent Cry". Then I thought Oe's tried to convey his message by means of his novels written out of his bitter, tormented and enigmatic mind. Surprisingly this novel also has 13 chapters ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scaredy cats who like to get busy
Shelves: 2011
"Bird" is the main character here whose wife gives birth to an abnormal baby and the story is how he deals with the baby- specifically deals with the baby. He doesn't deal well but it's a fairly interesting ride into the depths of his neuroses. This book reads very similar to Haruki Murakami novels sans the surreal touch, to an extent at times it felt spooky. The descriptive inner dialogue, 24/7 whiskey drinking and sex with an intelligent broken girl all made me think of Murakami. Unlike Muraka ...more
Jordi Via
Jan 21, 2013 Jordi Via rated it really liked it
Una de esas lecturas que por mucho tiempo que pase deja un recuerdo indeleble.
Bird, el personaje principal, la voz del autor, es un irresponsable al que no querrías como amigo, ni siquiera como vecino, aunque es profesor de inglés y acaba de ser padre.
A veces, la mayoría de ellas, te enfureces con él y le darías con ganas una buena colleja; otras sientes lástima, pero llegar a comprender sus reacciones se hace muy difícil por no decir imposible.

Una novela escrita sin tapujos, sin rodeos, va di
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Is Himiko a good person, a bad person, or being used as a means to an end for Bird? 1 3 Jun 18, 2015 10:41AM  
Comments on this book . . . 6 81 Jun 26, 2013 09:48PM  
  • The Wild Geese
  • Some Prefer Nettles
  • Masks
  • The Sound of the Mountain
  • Fires on the Plain
  • The Temple of Dawn
  • The Face of Another
  • The Setting Sun
  • A Dark Night's Passing (Japan's Modern Writers)
  • Kappa
  • Black Rain
  • Sanshirō
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...

Share This Book

“One day Bird had approached his father with this question; he was six years old: Father, where was I a hundred years before I was born? Where will I be a hundred years after I die? Father, what will happen to me when I die? Without a word, his young father had punched him in the mouth, broke two of his teeth and bloodied his face, and Bird forgot the fear of death.” 14 likes
“…I kept trying to run away. And I almost did. But it seems that reality compels you to live properly when you live in the real world.” 7 likes
More quotes…