214 pages, 8.25 × 5.75 × 0.48 in
January 13, 1994
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0802150616
ISBN - 13: 9780802150615
About the Book
Oe's most important novel, A Personal Matter, has been called by The New York Times "close to a perfect novel." In A Personal Matter, Oe has chosen a difficult, complex though universal subject: how does one face and react to the birth of an abnormal child? Bird, the protagonist, is a young man of 27 with antisocial tendencies who more than once in his life, when confronted with a critical problem, has "cast himself adrift on a sea of whisky like a besotted Robinson Crusoe." But he has never faced a crisis as personal or grave as the prospect of life imprisonment in the cage of his newborn infant-monster. Should he keep it? Dare he kill it? Before he makes his final decision, Bird's entire past seems to rise up before him, revealing itself to be a nightmare of self-deceit. The relentless honesty with which Oe portrays his hero -- or antihero -- makes Bird one of the most unforgettable characters in recent fiction.
From the Publisher
Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II writers, known for his powerful accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and his own struggle to come to terms with a mentally handicapped son. The Swedish Academy lauded Oe for his poetic force [that] creates an imagined world where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today." His most popular book, A Personal Matter is the story of Bird, a frustrated intellectual in a failing marriage whose Utopian dream is shattered when his wife gives birth to a brain-damaged child. "In writing novels there is no substitute for maturity and moral awareness. Kenzaburo Oe has both."-Alan Levensohn, Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
A winner of numerous Japanese literary prizes, Oe came to manhood during World War II and the occupation. In college, he studied Jean-Paul Sartre and absorbed many popular leftist ideas. These influences appear in his early writings, which often deal with contemporary issues. With the birth of his deformed son, father and son became the new focus of his work. A blend of the personal and the political, rendered by a powerful and poetic imagination, continues to distinguish Oe's work.
John Nathan is the author of the definitive biography of the novelist Yukio Mishima & has translated the novels of both Mishima & the Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe into English. He is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker & lives in Santa Barbara, California.