Kenzaburo Oe

The Changeling, 2010 Shortlist

Translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm

Photo Credit: Jo Schwartz

Kenzaburo Oe is the recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature and the 1989 Priz Europalia, and one of Japan’s leading post-war writers. He published his first novel, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, while an undergraduate at Tokyo University, and has been a prolific and revered novelist and essayist ever since. His novels include A Personal Matter, Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, and A Quiet Life, as well as The Changeling.

The Changeling introduces Kogito, a writer in his early sixties, who receives a mysterious package from his childhood friend and estranged brother-in-law, Goro. Goro has sent him a trunk of tapes with recorded reflections on their relationship, and after receiving it, Kogito learns his lifelong friend has jumped to his death. However, Goro’s voice continues to speak, promising Kogito that he will remain in contact from the Other Side. Kogito listens obsessively and embarks on a far-ranging search to understand what drove his brother-in-law to suicide, a journey that spans the forests of Japan to the streets of Berlin, where Kogito confronts the ghosts from his own past and Goro’s.


Grove/Atlantic (Hardcover)

Buy The Changeling online




Swindon Books, Paddyfield (Hong Kong)