Kenzaburo Oe is a highly rated Japanese author, and the only other thing I read by him was his much acclaimed 'A Personal Matter'. For some reason, I did not enjoy that one too much, and considering it is his best known novel, was not expecting too much from this.
I found it to be a very good selection of short stories however - each one was obscure, abstract, and eccentric, yet also very entertaining and they certainly offer a good insight to the mind and experiences of Oe.
'Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness' in particular is excellent, and has obvious echoes to Oe's own life. It deals with the father of a mentally defective son, and painfully portrays both the agony and trauma experienced in their relationship with each other.
This is not an easy read, but it is well worth the effort. It is beautifully written and constantly challenges you to think about what you are reading.
Each story carries its own charm and leaves its own trace, yet as a collection they convey a picturesque insight into the lives of those who care for the mentally underdeveloped. That picture is one of tenderness and love overcoming despair. Family and unconditional love being the colours and typically contemporary Japanese happenings as the paintbrush.
Definitely worth a read for those involved and those in the dark.