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Somersault by Kenzaburo Oe

Somersault (edition 2003)

by Kenzaburo Oe

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196460,038 (3.03)22
Authors:Kenzaburo Oe
Info:Grove Press (2003), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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Somersault by Kenzaburō Ōe



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Showing 4 of 4
One of the more frustrating books I've ever read. This is hardly a story of a cult, hardly a story of "the human spirit" nor of repentance. There's bits of those things in there, but nothing stuck out in this book of interest to me. Dialogue, which is almost the entire book, is non-realist, banal and constantly focused on describing past events, relationships, etc. with a detatched air. The characters are emotionally flattened, the "cult activities" described are (and I don't mean this figuratively) like being at a board meeting, and what little glint of transcendence comes through is often cliche and shallow. Oe isn't a bad writer, and the story could've been engaging, if only it was given a little life. Some positive reviews I've come across suggest that the book is lifeless to evoke a meditative, somber tone. Possibly, but "boring" works well enough for me. ( )
  palaverofbirds | Mar 29, 2013 |
Just really awful - so bad I couldn't finish it. Which is a great shame because I bought this on the strength of Nip the Buds Shoot the Kids, which is a great book. ( )
  Calico | Dec 8, 2007 |
Japanese cult alegory; Nobel Prize for Lit winner

12.03 ( )
  aletheia21 | May 18, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802117384, Hardcover)

Writing a novel after having won a Nobel Prize for Literature must be even more daunting than trying to follow a brilliant, bestselling debut. In Somersault (the title refers to an abrupt, public renunciation of the past), Kenzaburo Oe has himself leapt in a new direction, rolling away from the slim, semi-autobiographical novel that garnered the 1994 Nobel Prize (A Personal Matter) and toward this lengthy, involved account of a Japanese religious movement. Although it opens with the perky and almost picaresque accidental deflowering of a young ballerina with an architectural model, Somersault is no laugh riot. Oe's slow, deliberate pace sets the tone for an unusual exploration of faith, spiritual searching, group dynamics, and exploitation. His lavish, sometimes indiscriminate use of detail can be maddening, but it also lends itself to his sobering subject matter, as well as to some of the most beautiful, realistic sex scenes a reader is likely to encounter. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A decade before Somersault opens, two men referred to as the Patron and Guide of mankind were leaders of an influential religious movement. When a radical faction of their followers threatened to unleash an apocalypse, they recanted all of their teachings and abandoned their followers. Now, after ten years of silence, Patron and Guide begin contacting their old followers and reaching out to the public, assisted by a small group of young people who have come to them in recent months.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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