Fiction 2

An Echo of Heaven by Kenzaburō Ōe

By Kenzaburō Ōe

From Nobel Prize winner Oe comes the tale of Marie Kuraki, a eastern lady with a grin like Betty Boop's, who has turn into a saint to a gaggle of Mexican farm employees. even though Marie is an unbeliever looking for religious peace, she embarks on a trip triggered through a chain of private tragedies, together with the deaths of her husband and sons.

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The heavy makeup she always wore made thefatigue stand out on herface all the more, but her eyes were almost too bright. In a low, huskY voice, as she'd hardly spoken the whole time, she said to me: "Satchan, our life was a failure-there's nothing left; the good things are all gone. From now on, whenever we see some­ thing rare or beautiful, we'll just feel all the more depressed, knowing that Musan and Michio aren't here to enjoy it with us. . I was never really that keen on DostoevskY, but something one ofhis characters says came back to me a while ago, and now I can 't get it out of my head.

Don't you think we somehow cling to, even depend on, the innocence in our kind of children ? "O'Connor says that when innocence is overemphasized, it tends to become its exact opposite. But of course we've all lost it, from the start. According to her, we return to innocence through the redemption of Christ, not all at once, but slowly, over a long period of time. When this long process is skipped over in real life, we too quickly, too easily, reach a state of mock innocence, and that's what she calls sentimentality.

If I happened to k now someone at the television company, they suggested, couldn't I have him talk to the lovesick recording engineer and make him stop this bullshit ? Assu ming, of course, that in this day and age there were still people in television with enough company loyalty to listen to the advice of an older employee . . Anyway, I promised them I would talk to Marie myself. I would meet her at the sports club, where I'd be going the next day at around the same time; I would be waiting near the reception desk, and we could talk in the lobby there.

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