Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

PAPERBACKS

August 04, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

NIP THE BUDS, SHOOT THE KIDS by Kenzaburo Oe, translated from the Japanese by Paul St. John MacKintosh & Mark Sugiyama (Grove Press: $11, 189 pp.). The appearance of this surprisingly mature novel in 1958 marked the literary debut of Oe, who would receive the Nobel Prize 36 years later.

During the last days of World War II, a group of juvenile delinquents is transported to a remote mountain village to serve as laborers. When plague breaks out, the boys are unceremoniously abandoned by the villagers. Left to their own devices, the former prisoners construct an ad hoc society, only to see it brutally crushed by the returning villagers.

"Nip the Buds" recalls William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," but Oe's more sympathetic characters imbue his story with a humane believability.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|