The MUSIC OF LIGHT: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF HIKARI AND KENZABURO OE

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9780684824093: The MUSIC OF LIGHT: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF HIKARI AND KENZABURO OE

Tells the story of Hikari Oe, the brain-damaged son who inspired the work of novelist Kenzaburo Oe, and who became the world's only disabled prodigy in classical music

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Review:

In The Music of Light, Lindsley Cameron chronicles the Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe's remarkable relationship with his son Hikari. Although Hikari was born with a severe brain deformity that resulted in retardation, autism, near-blindness, and poor coordination, he has become an accomplished composer of classical music. Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, has written much about Hikari and the rest of his family over the years. Cameron studies the intersections between Oe's life and work in this volume. She also discusses the nature of creativity, the scientific theories about brain injuries, and the history of musical savants.

Oe's close relationship with his son is unusual, especially in Japanese society, where men do not usually get very involved with raising their children. While helping Hikari deal with his health problems, the Oe family struggled to cope with their culture's severe discrimination against disabled people. Cameron describes Hikari's musical development and his amazing ability to memorize songs. Hikari's life story is an inherently fascinating one--a man who cannot express himself very well verbally somehow figured out how to do something most people cannot do: make up songs. Cameron interviewed both men and other family members for this book, and has done a good job of capturing their personalities on paper. Hikari and Kenzaburo Oe influence each other's work tremendously, and the elder Oe's writing and fame have had an enormous impact on the family's life. Fans of Kenzaburo Oe and people who are interested in the roots of creativity will find a lot to like in this book. --Jill Marquis

About the Author:

Lindsley Cameron writes about Japanese and Chinese arts and culture for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications. She lived in Japan for eight years and is the author of a collection of short stories, The Prospect of Detachment. She lives in New York.

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