by Kenzaburo Oe
In his first new novel since winning the Nobel, Oe makes an immense departure from the autobiographical fiction he is most famous for, in a ... Show synopsis In his first new novel since winning the Nobel, Oe makes an immense departure from the autobiographical fiction he is most famous for, in a magnificent story about the charisma of leaders, the danger of zealotry, and the mystery of faith. A decade before the story 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 is planning to seize a nuclear-power plant, they dissolve the cult very publicly, on TV, in an act known as the Somersault. Ten years later, Patron decides to restart the fragmented movement, after the militants kidnap and murder Guide, moving the headquarters of the church into the mountains. There, with a small core of the faithful, Patron's messianic ambitions collide with his followers more violent expectations. Grand in its themes and beautifully told, Somersault illuminates the spiritual searching of modern man that makes religious cults so compelling. It 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.