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Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age!

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  441 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the Noble Prize for Literature, is one of the world's finest writers, and in Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age he delivers a virtuoso novel of extraordinary power, touching on his familiar themes of family, responsibility, the nature of literary inspiration, and the unique experience of parenting a disabled child. K is a famous writer living in T ...more
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published March 31st 2002 by Grove/Atlantic (first published 1983)
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Ms.pegasus
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Oe's works
Instead of discerning a plot or even a unifying theme, a reader of this book needs to ask: What problem(s) is the author exploring? This is a book of questions, not answers, and Oe returns to the same questions multiple times. Each time, he revisits a new memory and must revise his conclusion.

Oe uses the language and imaginative path of fiction to restructure the material that he has collected from his life. Every memory fits into a map of unfamiliar territory. The narrative is in first person g
...more
Stephen Durrant
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David
Apr 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
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
...more
Pepe B&V
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Casi un diario de vida. O de dos vidas. Sí, un acierto; siento que Ōe tiene facilidad para la escritura.
Paul Fulcher
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
...more
Leo
Há pouco de “manual de definições do mundo, da sociedade e do ser humano” e muito de texto ensaístico sobre Blake. Quando as insuficiências e excessos se encontram numa tentativa de livro de memórias com foco na paternidade, aí tudo se equilibra e dá gosto de ler.
J. Watson (aka umberto)
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
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
Hannah
Aug 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Ricardo
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definir o mundo. Afinal o que é esse mundo? Tendo um filho nascido com deficiência, Kenzaburo busca elucidar o mundo que nos cerca. O que é sentir medo? Emoção? Sonhar? São sentimentos primitivos? Aonde iremos parar? Jovens de um novo tempo, despertai! não irá te trazer respostas para essas perguntas, mas com certeza te dará o caminho básico de onde começar.
Carlos Puig
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Del afamado escritor japonés, solamente había leído Una cuestión personal, relato que me deslumbró totalmente. Ahora he podido disfrutar de esta novela profundamente humanista. Kenzaburo Oé, básicamente, nos cuenta su propia vida, en su rol de padre de familia e intelectual. K. es un escritor que estudia a Blake con rigor y pasión.  El estudio de Blake no tiene, sin embargo, una finalidad exclusivamente académica. El narrador-autor enlaza el estudio del poeta británico con su propia vida familia ...more
Dianetto
No es una lectura fácil. Es de la categoría "alta literatura", y bueno, el señor ganó un Nobel. La mitad del libro se trata de cómo relaciona cosas de su vida con un autor de poesía -Blake (?)- y la otra mitad de la relación con su hijo "disminuido", como él le llama. La segunda parte fue lo que me hizo quedarme a leerlo. Desde que tuve hijos he leído poca literatura al respecto y me parece un temón. Cómo nos relacionamos con los hijos y cómo nos afectan. Aunque la condición que el hijo de Kenza ...more
Jon
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great for fans of Oe and Blake. Not a great place to start for those who are new to this author.

If you like William Blake this could be a fun read for you. If you like K. Oe and are looking for more this is a pretty good one. If you're new to Oe and are looking to get into his works this is *not* the best place to start unless you reeeeally like William Blake. The digressions were interesting to me but they do pull you out of the narrative/thread that moves the story itself forward. The narrativ
...more
Sam
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
M.R. Dowsing
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Oe's autobiographical books centering around his family and his idiot savant son in particular. While reading it I thought this one may incorrectly have been labelled as fiction as so many of the details match with Oe's own life and he even quotes from his own books. However, in an afterword, the translator states that there are fictional elements, mainly in the portrayal of the son, who in real life is apparently not as articulate as 'Eeyore' is here.

Many people would probably f
...more
Eileen
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: people, asia
Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age! is the first Ōe book I've read and quite frankly, I'm not sure if I'll be reading Ōe again for some time. It was mentioned somewhere that Japanese literature tends to blur fiction and memoir/autobiography more than we're usually comfortable with in the West but I don't think that had much to do with it. I think my mostly negative reaction was a combination of little interest in the subject matter and a dislike of Ōe's prose (or Nathan's translation thereof), ...more
Guillermo 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
Dave
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Yasmeen
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
Corey
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Tomás
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Muy buen libro, el autor nos relata su vida y la relación que tiene con su hijo autista, nos cuenta una serie de eventos en la vida de su hijo que muestran lo difícil que es criar a un hijo autista y epiléptico, las cuales lo hacen reflexionar, tratando de buscar respuestas en las interpretaciones que hace sobre distintos versos de la poesía de Wlillia Blake (creo que hubiese sido mucho mejor para un mayor entendimiento del libro conocer la poesía de Blake). Es imposible no simpatizar y solidari ...more
Melissa
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
Steven
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Stone
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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'
...more
Madelynp
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Oe novel I've read, and I really, really enjoyed it, while also acknowledging that I know nothing about William Blake. I think that I would have enjoyed it more if I did have some background on the poet and painter, but I nevertheless enjoyed the way that Oe was able to use Blake's poetry and characters to explore his relationship with Eeyore, his son born with severe brain damage.
Mimi
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joan
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan-fiction
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.
Uwe Hook
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has a lot of references to the works by William Blake, which makes it a difficult read, unless you are a scholar of Blake's work. Additionally, Oe explains the writings of Blake and combines it with how it teaches him to understand his handicapped child. The novel feels like an odd mix of autobiography and fiction, can come across as pretentious.
Emma
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Joseph Volk
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Leitura de Abril 1 3 Apr 01, 2016 04:32AM  
PNWJETAA Book Club: Rouse up! 1 2 Apr 07, 2013 09:27PM  
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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
“Manusia ialah khalifah; apabila kerajaan tidak bijak dan rakyat menderita, kenapa ia tidak membuat perubahan?” 2 likes
“You know that pen drawing of a brain on the wall above the desk in your study?” my wife said. “There's a single eye in the middle of it, and judging from the size of that eye, the brain seems a little smaller than normal. I wonder if that isn't a sketch of the other brain?”

I did prize that sketch of a brain. It had been used as the frontispiece in a collection of essays that Professor W had published just after the war, On Madness and Other Matters, But, as far as I was consciously aware, I had placed the illustration in a wooden frame and hung it on the wall because I had been profoundly influenced by the following passage in that book: “There are those who say that great achievements are impossible in the absence of madness. That is untrue! Achievements enabled by madness are invariably accompanied by desolation and sacrifice. Truly great achievements are attained by humanistic individuals laboring honestly, tirelessly, humbly while acutely conscious, far more so than others, that they are susceptible to madness.”
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