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Somersault (edition 2003)
by Kenzaburo Oe
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
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 Tue, 19 Apr 2011 17:56:27 -0400)
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.
(summary from another edition)
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