This is my fifth Oe novel, and I am always surprised at how one theme manifests in myriad fascinating plots. However, I am not surprised that he was the Nobel laureate in literature for 1994. Oe's writing is dominated by his decidedly masculine presence, but never loses itself in it. His descriptive language is eloquent without becoming mired in flocks of adverbs and adjectives (thanks also to a fine translation). In each of the novels I've read, a parent faces the challenges of a handicapped son, just as has Oe in real life. But in each of his fictitious works, the handicap varies and never duplicates his son's challenges nor the challenges of the characters in his other books. Rouse Up is a closer parallel to Oe's own experience than any of his other novels. It is decidedly autobiographical. No doubt he has used the novel format to cause some things to have a more satisfactory outcome than they may have had in real life. For instance, according to the Afterword written by translator John Nathan, Oe gives the fictional son a more robust ability to express himself than his real-life son. As Nathan describes it: "he is able to express himself in words, conveying wit and tenderness and compassion and his own brand of reductive wisdom about the world as he experiences it." Oe's real-life son, Hikari, has the gift of music. Though profoundly brain damaged, he has made his man's mark in the world as a celebrated composer. In an interview, speaking of Hikari's healing music, Oe commented, "My son's music is a model of my literature. I want to do the same thing." [...] Rouse Up is about fathers and sons, about the elation and disappointments of parenthood, about the joys and burdens of responsibility. Every son's father will find himself there. And, ultimately, like Hikari's music and Kenzaburo's prose, the journey is about healing.