Sharon's Reviews > Seventeen & J

Seventeen & J by Kenzaburō Ōe
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's review
Nov 06, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: japanese, translation, novel, nobel, male-author
Read in November, 2011 — I own a copy

J was too unpleasant. Could not related to it at all or enter into the story. I would give it only one star. Seventeen was also unpleasant, but at least Oe had a purpose in showing the unpleasant character: He was imagining what the seventeen year old who escapes his loneliness and self loathing by joining a right wing political group and assassinating a political leader before committing suicide. I didn't really like the story, but can concede that Oe does effectively show how an unhappy person could become someone who would do terrible things to feel better about himself.

I'm glad that I read A Quiet Life and The Changeling first. I loved both of those books. These two early novellas do not have the thoughtful, philosophical explorations or the likeable characters of his later work. Both novellas were written before he attended and wrote about the Hiroshima antinuclear conferences and before the birth of his son; two events which profoundly influenced his later writing. I have four other Oe novels that I've recently picked up that I'm eager to read.
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