The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Changeling

The Changeling

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by Kenzaburo Oe
     
 

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Oe introduces Kogito Choko, a writer in his early sixties, as he rekindles a childhood friendship with his estranged brother-in-law, the renowned filmmaker Goro Hanawa. Goro sends Kogito a trunk of tapes he has recorded of reflections about their friendship, but as Kogito is listening one night, he hears something odd. "I'm going to head over to the Other Side now

Overview


Oe introduces Kogito Choko, a writer in his early sixties, as he rekindles a childhood friendship with his estranged brother-in-law, the renowned filmmaker Goro Hanawa. Goro sends Kogito a trunk of tapes he has recorded of reflections about their friendship, but as Kogito is listening one night, he hears something odd. "I'm going to head over to the Other Side now," Goro says, and then Kogito hears a loud thud. After a moment of silence, Goro's voice continues: "But don't worry, I'm not going to stop communicating with you." Moments later, Kogito's wife rushes in; Goro has jumped to his death. With that, Kogito begins a far-ranging search to understand what drove his brother-in-law to suicide. His quest takes him from the forests of southern Japan to the washed-out streets of Berlin, where Kogito confronts the ghosts from his own past and that of his lifelong, but departed, friend.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One night, as writer Kogito Choko is listening to a tape his brother-in-law, Goro, has given him, he hears Goro say that he is heading over to the Other Side. Just after these words, Kogito hears a loud thud, and then the words continue with Goro's promise that he will not stop communicating with Kogito. After a few moments, Kogito's wife, Chikashi, informs him that Goro has committed suicide. Left with a trunk full of cassette tapes from Goro, Kogito sets off on a quest to recover his own and his brother-in-law's past—a journey that carries him from Japan to Berlin. It is Kogito's wife, however, who discovers Goro's real secrets and that life's meaning is not to be found among the living or the dead but among the unborn, those who can change (a changeling) from a child into a cunning trickster. VERDICT Nobel Prize winner Oe's sometimes turgid, sometimes lyrical novel offers haunting perspectives on the nature of life and death. While Oe's fans comprise the main audience for this new novel, fans of Milan Kundera and Günter Grass will also appreciate the magical way in which Oe weaves inquiries into the haunting nature of the past with questions about the nature of human identity and memory. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/09.]—Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Evanston, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Once again introspection and autobiography are transmuted into compelling fiction in the latest from Japan's 1994 Nobel laureate (Somersault, 2003, etc.). Protagonist Kogito Choko is a bookish, self-effacing veteran novelist whose oeuvre had frequently influenced, and been influenced by, the accomplishments of his brother-in-law and best friend Goro Hanawa, a celebrated filmmaker. Shortly after Kogito learns that Goro has killed himself by jumping from a rooftop, he receives a number of audioKogito, ergo sum. He thinks and remembers and imagines. Therefore, he is.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802145239
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/08/2011
Edition description:
Translatio
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
616,226
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


Kenzaburo Oe is also the author of A Personal Matter, Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, and A Quiet Life, among others. He has been awarded many honors, including the Prix Europalia and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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