Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Episode 68: Kenzaburo Oe, A Personal Matter


This week we have another Tom pick, perhaps the best-known novel by Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe, first published in 1964 (Oe won the Nobel Prize thirty years later). The semi-autobiographical novel follows Bird, a young father deciding whether to save his son–born with what appears to be a severe birth defect–or allow him to die.

a-personal-matter book jacket

We talk about the book’s rather graphic–and sometimes violent–sex scenes, as well as its portrayal of hospitals and medical professionals. Plus we’ve got another edition of our Sticks and Stones segment. And raccoon facts!

As always, you can stream the episode here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode. Thanks for listening! We’d love your feedback on what we talked about. Feel free to leave a comment here on the site, send us an email, or hit us up on Twitter.

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Download Episode 68 (right-click, save-as)

Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

3 thoughts on “Episode 68: Kenzaburo Oe, A Personal Matter

  1. You guys joke, but even books written in American English get slightly translated for Queen’s English audiences over here: you’ll be reading a Joshua Ferris book and people are talking about how so-and-so is a real pain in the arse. It’s off-putting.

  2. Really? Are they afraid you won’t be able to decipher the foreign language? What other Australian-isms do they include??

  3. “That douchebag? You should be able ta do betteran that.” Pg. 105, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby, Jr., 1964. I just read it. I know, I was surprised, too.

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