Very powerful short novel about the tribulations of a group of reform school young men who were relocated to a remote village during WWII. This was somewhat reminiscent of Lord of the Flies because it is about a group of boys forced to deal with circumstances on their own. "Nip the Buds" at times was really hard-hitting and graphic in its descriptions of what had to be endured by the group when the villagers desert them because of a possible outbreak of the plague. The callousness of the villagers was appalling and their treatment of the boys was despicable. This was Oe's first novel published in 1958 - he went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1994. I would be interested in reading some of his later work.
First published 1958, translated by Paul St. John Mackintosh and Maki Sugiyama in 1985, this edition published 1996. Trade-sized paperback. Story of 15 reformatory boys evacuated to a remote mountain village during wartime. Maybe it's a Japanese "Lord of the Flies"?
This is such an interesting book! I can relate to the references by other readers to Lord of the Flies. It is a sad and surreal story, all those young boys who were already outcasts, now on their own, not much in the way of resources, and with the threat of plague and starvation hanging over them. I know that wartime is very difficult and frightening for everyone, and the fear of plague doesn't help, but what the villagers did to the boys is appalling. I'd like to know what happened to the boys later. I'm glad I read it.