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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
7252112,951 (3.73)105
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, adolescent(s), 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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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This is the first book by Nobel prize winner Oe, written when he was only 23. The plot is simple and the prose is spare. A group of reform school boys is evacuated to a remote mountain village in Japan during World War II. The villagers treat them as less than human, and abandon them when it appears that a plague has broken out.
The book has been compared with Lord of the Flies (it was written before Lord of the Flies). However, in Nip the Buds the boys are sympathetic characters who maintain their humanity after being cut off from civilization.
The relationship between the unnamed narrator and his brother, one of the themes of the book, is poignant and heartbreaking. The novel ends tragically when civilization is once again imposed on the boys.
Oe has stated that he wrote the book for Japanese readers of his own age, i.e. those who came of age during World War II. He said, 'All I had to do was let my war experiences, not factual but mental, take their own course.' (Note this means experiences as a civilian. There is no combat or bombing etc. in this book).
I highly recommend this book. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 25, 2017 |
'The War sent its mass insanity flooding into the convolutions of people's feelings, into every last recess of their bodies', 7 Mar. 2013
sally tarbox

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This review is from: Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (Hardcover)
A harsh yet utterly compelling read, narrated by a boy from a reformatory, evacuated with his mates into a village while World War 2 rages elsewhere. And while the war itself doesn't touch the characters, it infects the adult villagers around them, who treat the youths brutally:
' "Anyone caught stealing, starting fires or making a row will be beaten to death by the villagers. Even so we'll shelter and feed you. Always remember that in this village you're only useless vermin." '
Amid freezing conditions and with bad food, the kids are soon called up to bury a heap of decaying livestock, in a grisly scene. But it soon appears that the animals are dead from plague, and for five days the adults flee the village, leaving the youths to fend for themselves. Yet they are not alone: there's a young girl, a Korean, a friendly dog and a runaway army cadet...

Often horrifying, yet with moments of great beauty and innocence...as they wash to keep free of plague, they find a crab; the narrator has a close relationship with his kid brother, lending him his camel tin-opener and watching him play with his dog; and the kids make a skating rink when it snows. But such moments just emphasize the brutality that forms the major part of the work all the more. A memorable work. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |

Mature-Content Rating: Sexual Themes, Language, War Violence, Underage Nudity

“I walked howling like a beast, shedding my tears on the snow. The dirty water coming in through my cracked soles soaked my chilblained toes and made them itch terribly, but I fiercely pushed my shoes into the ankle-deep snow and made no attempt to reach down and scratch them. If I had bent down I couldn’t possibly have straightened up and started walking again.”

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids takes place during the Showa period in Japan. It's a time when Japan had moved into totalitarianism, ultranationalism and fascism; coupled with the threats of the Great Depression and WWII.

The book looks at fear during a war, and what a close-knit group would do to outsiders, even children, in order to survive. It's about social order and youthfulness when everything is chaotic and constantly shifting.

To start off, the group of boys had completely lost their trust in adults before they even arrived in the small country village they were evacuated to. As “reformatory” boys they were treated as the lowest class. Younger kids were allowed to mock them and they were blamed for any troubling matters that happened while they were near.

In the village Oe shows a group of boys not only learning to survive but coping with being abandoned, gaining a first love, battling fear of the plague, and death. Two brothers are among the fifteen boys abandoned in the village and Oe depicts a strong brotherly bond between the two- the older brother having a strong sense of responsibility to the younger. Also among the ones left behind is a Korean boy living on the outskirts of the village abandoned due to his heritage, a village girl that refused to leave her dead mother’s side, and a solider being hunted for running from his duties.

Overall Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids is a heartbreaking novel that is most defiantly not for the faint of heart. It shows a darker side of human nature with the mentality of ‘taking care of our own’ and leaving the rest of the world to crumble. ( )
  ReadingBifrost | Sep 18, 2014 |
An examination of the difficulty of resisting organized and institutional evil. ( )
  DinoReader | Aug 21, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kenzaburō Ōeprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:31 -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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