Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids recounts the exploits of 15 teenage reformatory boys evacuated to a remote mountain village in wartime. The boys are treated as delinquent outcasts - feared and detested by the local peasants. When plague breaks out, their hosts abandon them and flee, blockading them inside the empty village. The boys' brief and doomed attempt to build autonomous lives of self-respect, love, and tribal valour fails in the face of death and the adult nightmare of war.
"An angry, engrossing novel...It is an extraordinary first novel, an amazing achievement for a writer of any age. Myth-like and almost painfully suspenseful, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids has much in common with both Lord of the Flies and The Plague.... His uncompromising honesty is what gives the story its universality and what makes its grim ending such a persuasive warning." (New York Times)
"Oe is considered by many to be Japan's greatest postwar novelist. It's easy to see why. Here, his writing is crisp and lovely and gruesomely perfect." (Publishers Weekly)
“Available for the first time in English, this first novel by the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Literature is assured an audience both among those who are familiar with Oe's work and eagerly await the translations that will inevitably follow the awarding of the prize and those who are newly aware of Oe as a major literary figure and wish to sample the range of his work.” (Library Journal)
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utterly depressing, but well-written
- Katie Sullivan