A Personal Matter – Kenzaburo Oe

A Personal Matter was one of the most challenging books I have ever read. Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is one of those great authors that will leave you thinking about life for a long time. I remember having a break a couple of times. I even found myself preferring to read it in daylight, not before sleeping. In the end, even if you have hope about humanity or to continue to feel like a human being, you’ll feel exhausted as you fight yourself until you reach the end. You’ll feel the power of literature in your every cell and love it.


A Personal Matter - Kenzaburo Oe

“What would you do if you were in that situation?” When we try to answer the question, we give ourselves some time, and then we turn to the most ridiculous things (like cleaning instead of studying for that big exam), in order not to answer right away. This book contains all that nonsense and cowardice so well that you end up loving it like you loved all those not so great ex-lovers. Nevertheless, there is a question mark in your mind, you cannot be happy to be in love. Just like the times, you know that the one you love is not the right one, but you still cannot help yourself. Morality and choices; these are the ones that rule our lives.

I praised A Personal Matter so much, but the end of the book felt like a summary. It broke my heart. I just didn’t want it to end, maybe thats why I felt like it. I’m still not sure. Nevertheless, this is an excellent book and you have to read it.

About the book: A Personal Matter

Kenzaburō Ōe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II writers, known for his powerful accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and his own struggle to come to terms with a mentally handicapped son. The Swedish Academy lauded Ōe for his “poetic force [that] creates an imagined world where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.”

His most personal book, A Personal Matter, is the story of Bird, a frustrated intellectual in a failing marriage whose utopian dream is shattered when his wife gives birth to a brain-damaged child. 

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About the author: Kenzaburo Oe

Kenzaburo Oe is a Japanese writer and a major figure in contemporary Japanese literature. His novels, short stories and essays, strongly influenced by French and American literature and literary theory, deal with political, social and philosophical issues, including nuclear weapons, nuclear power, social non-conformism, and existentialism. 

A Personal Matter - Kenzaburo Oe

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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