Adam Calhoun's Reviews > Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe
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Apr 24, 10

really liked it
Read from April 14 to 24, 2010

Even though it is often compared to Golding's Lord of the Flies and Camus' The Plague, both of these analogies are lazy. This is a book about abandonment, injustice, the cruelty of life; a very different subject from the other two books. Just because it is about a group of abandoned kids and a plague, doesn't make it comparable.

This is Kenzaburo Oe's first book, and its rawness is what gives it power. The style is a bit, uh, "clotted" - at times it feels almost like Kobo Abe, though this could be a problem of translation - but still a relatively easy read. This is a very good book, and I think one that has a lot more to dig into than I got on the first reading. It has a lot to say about the villager culture in midcentury Japan, its treatment of Koreans, its idea of military honor, etc, etc, that an outsider like me would have to spend more time reading and thinking about to fully get. Which makes the book even better!
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