Elizabeth's Reviews > A Personal Matter

A Personal Matter by Kenzaburō Ōe
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011
Recommended for: scaredy cats who like to get busy

"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 Murakami, I felt overburdened with the singular focus on many occasions while I was reading this book. And right before the ending, things get borderline bizarro and than boomerangs back into normal for the ending. The whole book basically turns into a lesson for Bird...which made me go, wait what just happened here? REALLY??

This quote from the author definitely reflects the tone of this book:

“The writer’s job is the job of a clown,” Oe has said, “the clown who also talks about sorrow.”
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