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Somersault
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Grove Pr
Publication date March 1, 2003
Pages 720
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Fiction
ISBN-13 9780802117380
ISBN-10 0802117384
Dimensions 1.75 by 6.50 by 9.25 in.
Weight 1.94 lbs.
Availability§ Out of Print
Original list price $26.00
§As reported by publisher
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Hiroshima Notes
Summaries and Reviews
Summary
Ten years after recanting their teachings and abandoning their zealous and violent congregation, two men known only as the Patron and Guide of Humankind seek to overcome a radical faction while leading peaceful followers toward a new future. (view table of contents)
Amazon.com description: Product Description: Kenzaburo Oe is internationally recognized as one of the world’s finest writers. When he won the Nobel Prize nearly ten years ago, he announced that he would no longer be writing fiction—or, if he did, that his future work would be radically different from the highly autobiographical fiction he was known for. Now, with Somersault, Oe has broken his silence and shared with us the result of his artistic reorientation, in a magnificent story of the charisma of leaders, the danger of zealotry, and the mystery of faith.

A decade before Somersault opens, two men referred to as the Patron and Guide of mankind were leaders of an influential religious movement. When a radical faction of their followers threatened to unleash an apocalypse, they recanted all of their teachings and abandoned their followers. Now, after ten years of silence, Patron and Guide begin contacting their old followers and reaching out to the public, assisted by a small group of young people who have come to them in recent months.

Just as they are beginning this renewed push, the radical faction kidnaps Guide, holding him captive until his health gives out. Patron and a small core of the faithful, including a painter named Kizu who may become the new Guide, move to the mountains to establish the church’s new base, followed by two groups from Patron’s old church: the devout Quiet Women, and the Technicians, who have ties to the old radical faction. The Baby Fireflies, young men from a nearby village, attempt to influence the church with local traditions and military discipline. As planning proceeds for the summer conference that will bring together the faithful and launch the new church in the eyes of the world, the conflicting agendas of these factions threaten to make a mockery of the church’s unity—or something far more dangerous.

Ambitious and beautifully told, Somersault illuminates the spiritual searching of modern man that makes religious cults so compelling. Somersault is an astonishing achievement that again confirms Kenzaburo Oe’s place among the world’s finest writers, even as it takes his body of work in fresh and fertile new directions.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780802117380 Book cover for 9781843540809
 
With Philip Gabriel (other contributor) | from Atlantic Books (July 10, 2003)
9781843540809 | details & prices | 592 pages | List price $28.90
About: A decade before this story opens two men referred to as the Patron and Guide of mankind dissolve their influential religious movement.
The price comparison is for this edition
With J. Philip Gabriel | from Grove Pr (March 1, 2003)
9780802117380 | details & prices | 720 pages | 6.50 × 9.25 × 1.75 in. | 1.94 lbs | List price $26.00
About: Ten years after recanting their teachings and abandoning their zealous and violent congregation, two men known only as the Patron and Guide of Humankind seek to overcome a radical faction while leading peaceful followers toward a new future.
Paperback
Book cover for 9780802140456
 
Reprint edition from Grove Pr (January 1, 2004)
9780802140456 | details & prices | 576 pages | 6.00 × 9.00 × 1.00 in. | 1.65 lbs | List price $14.00
About: Ten years after recanting their teachings and abandoning their zealous and violent congregation, two men known only as the Patron and Guide of Humankind seek to overcome a radical faction while leading peaceful followers toward a new future.

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