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Michael Wood, 4 April 1996

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids 
by Kenzaburo, translated by Paul St John Mackintosh and Maki Sugiyama.
Boyars, 189 pp., £14.95, May 1995, 0 7145 2997 4
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A Personal Matter 
by Kenzaburo, translated by John Nathan.
Picador, 165 pp., £5.99, January 1996, 0 330 34435 8
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Hiroshima Notes 
by Kenzaburo, translated by David Swain and Toshi Yonezawa.
Boyars, 192 pp., £14.95, August 1995, 0 7145 3007 7
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... times and places, even the ones written yesterday and just down the road. But these three works by Kenzaburo Oë, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994, have an unusual flavour of missives cast into the sea long ago, only now arriving on our island beach. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids was published in Japan in 1958, and is now translated for the first ...


Fredric Jameson: Kenzaburo Oe, 20 November 2003

by Kenzaburo Oe, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Atlantic, 570 pp., £16.99, July 2003, 1 84354 080 0
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... who proved unexpectedly to be the greatest novelist in the world. Such also, I believe, is Kenzaburo Oe, whose latest novel shows how mistaken American stereotypes of him were (and perhaps how mistaken his own stereotype of himself was). At least two things were thought to have been known about this writer when Grove gradually began to introduce his ...

Lonely Metal Souls

Theo Tait: Haruki Murakami, 18 October 2001

Sputnik Sweetheart 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill, 229 pp., £12, May 2001, 9781860468254
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... news in a literary culture not known for its light-heartedness). From the Olympian perspective of Kenzaburo Oe – Japan’s last Nobel literature laureate – Murakami’s fictions are ‘mere reflections of the vast consumer culture of Tokyo and the subcultures of the world at large’. They ‘convey the experience of a youth politically uninvolved or ...


Julian Loose, 30 January 1992

The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 241 13144 8
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... whether Murakami and his fellows should be considered Japanese writers at all. The older novelist Kenzaburo Oe has voiced the suspicion that Japanese literature is ‘decaying’. In an essay entitled ‘Japan’s Dual Identity’, he singled out Murakami as emblematic of the decline in junbungaku, or serious writing, arguing that ‘there is nothing that ...

Number One Passport

Julian Loose, 22 October 1992

Rising Sun 
by Michael Crichton.
Century, 364 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7126 5320 1
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Off Centre: Power and Culture Relations between Japan and the United States 
by Masao Miyoshi.
Harvard, 289 pp., £22.95, December 1992, 0 674 63175 7
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Underground in Japan 
by Rey Ventura.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.99, April 1992, 0 224 03550 9
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... political disenchantment that saturates Murakami’s writing. Off Centre is dedicated to Kenzaburo Oe, and Miyoshi clearly admires this senior writer’s consistently radical stance: ‘There are moments when it looks as though Japan’s critical consciousness lives in Oe’s work alone.’ However, it is hard not to feel that Miyoshi’s ...

Reality B

Christopher Tayler: Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84’, 15 December 2011

1Q84: Book 1 and Book 2 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.
Harvill Secker, 623 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 1 84655 407 0
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1Q84: Book 3 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill Secker, 364 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 1 84655 405 6
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... to ‘appeal to intellectuals in the broad sense with models for Japan’s present and future’ (Kenzaburo Oe). The novel was written in the US, where Murakami, hiding out from the fan attention occasioned by Norwegian Wood, reconsidered his earlier wish ‘to run as far as I could from the “Japanese Condition”’. After the Kobe earthquake and the Tokyo ...

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