It’s a little crazy - the title of this book, don't you think? A little nuts. Asking me to shoot the kids! The kids!!! You run around with an axe, burIt’s a little crazy - the title of this book, don't you think? A little nuts. Asking me to shoot the kids! The kids!!! You run around with an axe, bury it left and right in brain matter, why don't you. And while you're at it, ruin my flowers. Nutz!!! Say, what? The kids are like the buds? It's wrong? Nonsense. You're overusing that pretty head of yours. Remember Golding? The guy had a point!!! Nothing like the buds!! Shoot them. Shoot them all!!!
OK. Time out. Lets put the juvenile and the split personality to rest, you probably want to know whether the book was any good.
Well it was bloody awesome! Violent from start to finish, with chapter titles way too revealing, and male genitals shrinking in the cold time after time over and over - stuff like that makes me cringe, stuff like that can cross prominent authors off my reading list for good, stuff like that done right apparently can earn you a Nobel Prize but my aproval? You have to try harder, and spartan sentences and male first person narrative aren't helping either. So what is it about this book that made it so appealing to me after all? Maybe it's the setting: Japan during WWII, isolated snow buried little village. Maybe it's the disease - ever since the Plague, I have the unhealthy fascination with sickness and love when my characters suffer even die. Maybe it's true an honest, spot on portrayal of kids and adults, boys and girl, foreigners and locals, the educated and the stupid mob. Maybe it's all of it, together with the despised brutality and raw emotions. But whatever it is, it makes the book damn good.
And two more things before you go. One, judging from reviews here on GR, English translation leaves a lot to be desired. I read it in Polish and voice no complaints, my translation was fine, sorry if you get a shitty one. Two, all of the Lord of the Flies references - they don't give this book justice. Nip the buds, shoot the kids is not a LOTF-repeat with a different setting and Japanese customs thrown in for distraction. What the two books have in common is young boys in isolation and a level of violence which you usually don't associate with kids, but that's it. The message Oë passes on with his book (and he passes it well) is the opposite of what Golding tried to convey. So it is fun to make a literary comparison between those two, but it's fun not because of the similarities, but because of the differences: both books disagree on the most essential matter, both deliver strong arguments and make a stance. So before you think of Kenzaburo Oë as a William Golding wannabe, think twice, the guy deserves his own moment in the spotlight. ...more
My firstSolzhenitsyn,and a pleasant surprise.I was preparedfor a heavy incomprehensive literary thesis, something convoluted and philosophical concernMy first Solzhenitsyn, and a pleasant surprise. I was prepared for a heavy incomprehensive literary thesis, something convoluted and philosophical concerning communist ideas or luck of thereof, but what I got was short, accessible, to the point and kept me engaged, in suspense even till the very end. It's a story about enthusiastic youth in Russian Siberia deciding to contribute, in the spirit of solidarity, to the good of the cause. Unfortunately rampant corruption and abusive bureaucracy gets in the way. The conflict between the ideals and the reality makes for an engaging read, even now years after the Soviet Union broke up, as I think the dissonance between hopes and dreams of a fair, protective government and the politicians' egos and their personal benefit will remain, no matter what the system, to a bigger or lesser degree. ...more
Need to reread this at a different time in my life. There's definitely a lot to this book, I'm sure of it, I've read Solzhenitsyn in the past. But I jNeed to reread this at a different time in my life. There's definitely a lot to this book, I'm sure of it, I've read Solzhenitsyn in the past. But I just came from one funeral, and have another to attend tomorrow. Both people were close family members of mine, both taken by cancer. I was hoping "Cancer Ward" would offer some relieve, that there would be some understanding between me and Mr.Solzhenitsyn, but he was just pissing me off with his references to the Soviet Union. Oh well, we'll let this cancer thing rest and maybe try again someday....more