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Arrachez les bourgeons, tirez sur les…

Arrachez les bourgeons, tirez sur les enfants (original 1958; edition 2012)

by Kenzaburô Ôé, René de Ceccatty (Traduction), Ryôji Nakamura (Traduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6031816,217 (3.78)92
Title:Arrachez les bourgeons, tirez sur les enfants
Authors:Kenzaburô Ôé
Other authors:René de Ceccatty (Traduction), Ryôji Nakamura (Traduction)
Info:Gallimard (2012), Broché, 238 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:(@BM), Japon, WWII, enfants, adolescents, adultes, épidémie, abandon, cruauté, brutalité, (2013)

Work details

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe (1958)

  1. 20
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Kinder auf sich allein gestellt - was sagt es über die Gesellschaft aus?

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» See also 92 mentions

English (17)  Spanish (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
About halfway through and I started to get very anxious about what might be coming next and I gave in. I might give it a last chance before returning it to the library but it's already been creepy enough.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
fraudio, summer-2013, japan, nobel-laureate, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, translation, published-1958, plague-disease, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy, wwii, ouch, lifestyles-deathstyles, debut, next
Read from August 14 to 18, 2013


Narrated by Eduardo Ballerini

One wouldn't want to grapple with this if on a downer, you know, the back yard filled with black dogs and storms torrenting within the four walls of one's chest; this is human misery on a stick.

1 vote mimal | Aug 26, 2013 |
A beautifully written book about a horrible situation. A group of young male delinquents are relocated into he interior of Japan during WWII. The village to which they are sent has a plague scare and the boys are abandoned by the villagers, barricaded in to suffer whatever fate has in store for them. As their isolation lasts only a short time & the assumption is that the villagers will return, the boys in this novel do not attempt to create a functioning society or suffer its eventual breakdown as depicted in Lord of the Flies; these boys endure. They redefine their role, considering themselves as occupiers of the deserted village rather than accept the role of abandoned, unwanted vermin. Instead of demonstrating the inhumanity of and between individuals, the book demonstrates how the society fails the boys. ( )
1 vote ELiz_M | Apr 6, 2013 |
A translation of the Japanese work by the 1994 Nobel Prize winner. Written in 1958. The tale of a group of reformatory school boys, evacuated to a remote area in the mountains to escape the war, but they never escape their lack of freedom and can never escape the oppression and cruelty of society. ( )
  BCbookjunky | Mar 31, 2013 |

"Nonetheless, for aliens like captured wild beasts to be safe before others watching them, it is best to lead the will-less, eyeless existence of a stone, flower or tree: a purely observed existence. My brother, since, he persisted in being the eye that watched the villagers, was struck on his cheeks by thick yellowish gobs of spittle rolled on women's tongues, and stones thrown by the children. But, smiling, he would wipe his cheeks with his large bird-embroidered pocket facecloth and go on staring in wonderment at the villagers who had insulted him." (p. 23)

Clocking in at 189 pages, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids may at first glance seem like a quick read, but due to Oe's mastery of economy of language, this book is far fuller than one might expect.

Premise: Set during WWII, a group of teenage boys from a reformatory are marched through the woods (presumably on the remote island of Shikoku, Japan, since that's where the author spent most of his life...but no specific geographic location is ever named) and evacuated to a rural village. Upon their arrival, they're made to bury piles of corpses of rotting animals, infected with the plague. The villagers soon flee and abandon the boys in the plague-infested village, where they are left to their own devices to determine a means of survival.

There's a lot going on in such a petite volume: there's the relationship between the narrator and his younger brother, between the narrator and the rest of the group of boys, between the narrator and his love interest; the juxtaposition of order and chaos; the dividing line between childhood and adulthood; the notion of the "other"; themes of abandonment and responsibility to self v. responsibility to the community v. responsibility to family...and Oe was only 23 when this book was published.

Warning: There's also a lot of penis-related discussion. I get that it's a story about adolescent boys, but I swear once a chapter the narrator is either mentioning his erection, talking about someone else's erection, peeing in the snow, etc. It's a lot. I understand it's purpose (perpetuating this undercurrent of rushed sexuality that invades the narrative from time to time) and it's a bit unsettling considering the age of the characters. But I can appreciate why Oe made the choice to include such details in terms of character development/establishment...and I like it when something I read makes me FEEL something, even if the feeling isn't necessarily pleasant.

Penis talk aside, I really valued the experience of reading this book. It was unlike anything I had read before. Dark and unsettling, thought-provoking, at times spare, and at times rich...I could picture the action and characters so vividly as I read. Oe does an amazing job of establishing tone in his work. The entire piece just worked. I will definitely search out more of Oe's translated works in the future.

Rubric rating: 7.5. I can absolutely appreciate why Oe was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. ( )
1 vote jaclyn_michelle | Jul 18, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kenzaburō Ōeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mackintosh, Paul St. JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sugiyama, MakiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Two of our boys had escaped during the night, so at dawn we still hadn't left.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802134637, Paperback)

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids recounts the exploits of 15 teenage reformatory boys evacuated in wartime to a remote mountain village where they are feared and detested by the local peasants. When plague breaks out, the villagers flee, blocking the boys inside the deserted town. Their brief attempt to build autonomous lives of self-respect, love, and tribal valor is doomed in the face of death and the adult nightmare of war.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In Japan during World War II a group of boys who are evacuated to the country take over a village when the inhabitants flee a plague. The novel describes the way the boys administer the village--breaking into homes for food, burying the dead, caring for the sick--and what happens when the villagers return. By the author of The Silent Cry.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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