Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and tragic 'state of the nation' novel, 26 Nov. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Silent Cry (Serpent's Tail Classics) (Paperback)
This is not an easy book, and I felt it dragged at times, but I'd still give it a positive review because it really struck a chord and I find myself still thinking about it over a year after reading it.

The story is of two brothers returning to their childhood home, and tracks their two different characters and how one ultimately causes a strange and somewhat futile uprising in the nearby village, which ends tragically. There is a very significant subplot - mostly revealed through the narrator's reminiscences - about the history of the village and the family during the Second World War (which finished only about 20 years before the events of the book) and earlier in the 1860s, which chimes with the themes of the contemporary narrative. It's quite a murky and confusing tale - all is only really revealed at the very end, and even then I wouldn't say the reader comes away with any wholly satisfactory answers.

The themes which come through strongly are family identity, personal responsibility, and a sort of confusion and sense of hopelessness at the state of Japanese culture and society in the sixties. The narrator is by far the more conservative of the two brothers, and epitomises this embarrassed, awkward sort of frustration in much of his life, without ever rebelling like his younger brother does.

It is often considered Oe's greatest work. I have read some of his other novels, and I would agree that despite finding it frustrating, it is a unique work. I really felt it got under my skin as a story. Oe is great at depicting men experiencing complex and perhaps un-reconcileably contradictory emotions. His novels often focus on the man faced with a cruel predicament he struggles to resolve, and perhaps never will. I know that doesn't make this book sound like much fun, but it is a really impressive novel, and well worth the effort.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,155