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Asian Book Bucket: Changeling

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    cocoskyavitch

    Kenzaburo Oe’s “Changeling” reads a little like Yasunari Kawabata-distant, lost. So difficult to understand the heart of the protagonist, Kogito (yes, as in “to think”).

    He is “changed” in fact-everyone in the book is changed, and in relation directly to the post-war situation of Japan. His father made a last ditch bank attack dressed in bloody diapers-he was dying, and it was the act of defiance of a dying man. His followers become obsessive and withdraw to abandoned land to huddle like nits in the hairs of the earth and to rise up to threaten…planning suicide missions, managing one horrible act of brutality and several minor acts of violence.

    It’s about a writer and an actor, about suicide and dissatisfaction and secrets and pain and about Japan. I recommend highly.

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    Vili Maunula

    Thanks for the hint Coco, sounds interesting. I downloaded the sample to my Kindle.

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    cocoskyavitch

    I’m afraid you may not be able to tell much from the sample. You’ll have to either trust that he is a Nobel Laureate for a reason or forgo the book.

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    Vili Maunula

    Kindle’s samples actually tend to be pretty good, and enough to give me a general idea whether I like the writer’s style or not. And in any case, downloading samples is a quick and handy way to mark the book as something to be read. Or at least it’s much tidier than just buying physical books and letting them pile up in a corner somewhere. 😉

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    cocoskyavitch

    No, I get the value of electronic books…I read it partly on my iPad and part on my Kindle. By the way, it’s best to buy books on Kindle as opposed to iBooks, as the former are cross-platform compatible. That’s nice!

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    Vili Maunula

    Indeed! And I can put down a book on my Kindle, and the next time I open it on my phone, it knows exactly where I left off! That’s just brilliant.

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    cocoskyavitch

    Curious, Vili, did you read Changeling? Oe is a remarkable man, and much of the book has relevance to his own biographical experience. Also recommend: Prize Stock his short-story of an American G.I. shot down into a very small, ancient mountain village in WWII.

    I think it interesting to read his comments on nuclear disaster and Japan: http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/03/18/kenzaburo-oe-japan-burned-by-the-nuclear-fire/

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    Vili Maunula

    I’m afraid I haven’t really touched any novel for months! I hope that I’ll find the time to catch up a little with my reading (and everything else) this summer.

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