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A Personal Matter

by

A Personal Matter Cover

 

Staff Pick

If you like your books to be a punch in the face, then consider A Personal Matter a good nose bleed of a novel. This is a depiction of human frailty, alienation, despair, and ultimate triumph. Coming to grips with the narrator proved to be quite a wrestling match — this complexity is what I like most about the story. Based on his own personal experiences, Oe offers a glimpse into complicated Japanese societal stigmas and how one man crumbles under their weight, only to reemerge upon humbly accepting the birth of his ill-fated son.
Recommended by Shannon B., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Without doubt Oe's awesome learning, frightening memory, complex ideas, unbridled imagination, resilient political will, and indiscriminate modesty tempered by absolute self-assurance make him the most formidable figure in the literary world of Japan now." Masao Miyoshi, author of Off Center: Power and Culture Relations between Japan and the United States

Review:

"In Oe's books, everything has a peculiar sense of humor that is always on the verge of tragedy — a very dark humor." Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day

Review:

"Oe Writes like a new American realist....His prose is as direct and frank as an ice pick." Life

Review:

"Oe's themes of abnormality, sexuality, and marginality are outside the tradition of Japanese equipoise....His work has a gritty, grotesque quality, which makes him seem more akin to Mailer, Grass, or Roth than to many Japanese novelist." The New Yorker

Synopsis:

Oes most important novel, A Personal Matter, has been called by The New York Times “close to a perfect novel.” In A Personal Matter, Oe has chosen a difficult, complex though universal subject: how does one face and react to the birth of an abnormal child? Bird, the protagonist, is a young man of 27 with antisocial tendencies who more than once in his life, when confronted with a critical problem, has “cast himself adrift on a sea of whisky like a besotted Robinson Crusoe.” But he has never faced a crisis as personal or grave as the prospect of life imprisonment in the cage of his newborn infant-monster. Should he keep it? Dare he kill it? Before he makes his final decision, Birds entire past seems to rise up before him, revealing itself to be a nightmare of self-deceit. The relentless honesty with which Oe portrays his hero — or antihero — makes Bird one of the most unforgettable characters in recent fiction.

Synopsis:

Kenzaburo Oe, 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 Oe 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 popular 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. “In writing novels there is no substitute for maturity and moral awareness. Kenzaburo Oe has both.”—Alan Levensohn, Christian Science Monitor

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802150615
Translator:
Nathan, John
Author:
Nathan, John
Translator:
Nathan, John
Author:
Oe, Kenzaburo
Author:
Nathan, John
Publisher:
Grove Press
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Asian - General
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
Japan Fiction.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Marriage
Subject:
Intellectuals
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Evergreen ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Oe, Kenzaburo
Series Volume:
94-6
Publication Date:
19940131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
214
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.75 in 7 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Nobel Prize Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Personal Matter Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 214 pages Grove Press - English 9780802150615 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

If you like your books to be a punch in the face, then consider A Personal Matter a good nose bleed of a novel. This is a depiction of human frailty, alienation, despair, and ultimate triumph. Coming to grips with the narrator proved to be quite a wrestling match — this complexity is what I like most about the story. Based on his own personal experiences, Oe offers a glimpse into complicated Japanese societal stigmas and how one man crumbles under their weight, only to reemerge upon humbly accepting the birth of his ill-fated son.

"Review" by , "Without doubt Oe's awesome learning, frightening memory, complex ideas, unbridled imagination, resilient political will, and indiscriminate modesty tempered by absolute self-assurance make him the most formidable figure in the literary world of Japan now."
"Review" by , "In Oe's books, everything has a peculiar sense of humor that is always on the verge of tragedy — a very dark humor."
"Review" by , "Oe Writes like a new American realist....His prose is as direct and frank as an ice pick."
"Review" by , "Oe's themes of abnormality, sexuality, and marginality are outside the tradition of Japanese equipoise....His work has a gritty, grotesque quality, which makes him seem more akin to Mailer, Grass, or Roth than to many Japanese novelist."
"Synopsis" by ,
Oes most important novel, A Personal Matter, has been called by The New York Times “close to a perfect novel.” In A Personal Matter, Oe has chosen a difficult, complex though universal subject: how does one face and react to the birth of an abnormal child? Bird, the protagonist, is a young man of 27 with antisocial tendencies who more than once in his life, when confronted with a critical problem, has “cast himself adrift on a sea of whisky like a besotted Robinson Crusoe.” But he has never faced a crisis as personal or grave as the prospect of life imprisonment in the cage of his newborn infant-monster. Should he keep it? Dare he kill it? Before he makes his final decision, Birds entire past seems to rise up before him, revealing itself to be a nightmare of self-deceit. The relentless honesty with which Oe portrays his hero — or antihero — makes Bird one of the most unforgettable characters in recent fiction.
"Synopsis" by ,
Kenzaburo Oe, 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 Oe 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 popular 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. “In writing novels there is no substitute for maturity and moral awareness. Kenzaburo Oe has both.”—Alan Levensohn, Christian Science Monitor
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