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A Quiet Life

Oe, Kenzaburo; Yanagishita, Kunioki (translator); Wetherall, William (translator)

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ISBN 10: 0802115977 / ISBN 13: 9780802115973
Published by Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1996
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Kennedy Books (Jamestown, ND, U.S.A.)

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FINE/FINE unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000602

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Quiet Life

Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


A Quiet Life is narrated by Ma-Chan, a young woman who at the age of twenty finds herself in an unusual family situation. Her father is a famous and fascinating novelist; her older brother, though mentally handicapped, possesses an almost magical gift for musical composition. The lives of both father and son revolve around their work and each other, and her mother's life is devoted to the care of them both. She and her younger brother find themselves emotionally on the outside of this oddly constructed nuclear family. But when her father leaves Japan to accept a visiting professorship from a distinguished American university, Ma-Chan finds herself suddenly the head of the household and the center of family relationships that she must begin to redefine.


Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe has produced a quirky, introspective novel that uses autobiographical elements to tell the story of a writer's family and his rediscovery of his place therein. Written in the form of a diary, the story is told from the point of view of Ma-Chan, the daughter of a famous writer (identified only as "K") who has decamped to California as a university writer-in-residence. Ma-Chan is left in charge of her equally famous brother, an idiot savant who composes brilliant classical music. The mentally retarded brother, nicknamed Eeyore, has violent fits, periods of incontinence, and a troubling new sexual awareness. Like Faulkner's Benjy Compson, he is the moral center of the book, a touchstone and a catalyst for the muted events that carry the novel to its unpredictable close. Full of digressions on the cinema, modernist music, and the novels of Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Oe's latest novel is a stylized, idiosyncratic confessional that only he could fashion.

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