A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oë (1969). The preeminent voice of Japan’s New Left from the 1960s, Oë brings a most un-Japanese rawness and rebellion to his semiautobiographical story of a young intellectual who fathers a brain-damaged baby. This modern morality tale juxtaposes its protagonist’s tortuous cerebral musings with a visceral world of blood and bile, sexual deviance, and medically sanctioned infanticide. Oë’s grotesqueries paradoxically render his characters more human and sympathetic, rather than less, while the sometimes self-conscious artifice of his language accommodates a society adrift from tradition and meaning.
Total Points: 1 (DMe 1)