We gave it a C
At the start of this closely autobiographical novel — first published by the Nobel Prize winner in 1986 and just now translated into English — a Japanese writer frets over his brain-damaged teenage son. The kid, nicknamed Eeyore, has been acting up — testing judo kicks on his mom, toying with knives, declaring his father dead. Dad’s response? Composing arid explications of William Blake’s poetry: ”[H]e not only formulates his own unique mythological world based on a tradition that extends from Christianity to esoteric mysticism, he also empowers his mythology to develop….” The novel reads like a writer’s notebook. Its links between life and literature remain abstract and offer only the dimmest glimpse of a story.