The Bomb

Makoto Oda, Author, D. Hugh Whittaker, Translator Kodansha America $18.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-87011-981-1
Published in Japan in 1984, antiwar and antinuclear activist Oda's novel, a bestseller in his native country, is more successful as a moral statement than as coherent fiction. The initial backdrop is a desert town during WW II where Native Americans are forced off sacred land so that the Army can develop a secret military project. Erratically depicting slices of life in New Mexico and Japan, Oda juxtaposes the ``Indians,'' ``niggers'' and ``Japs'' suffering wartime discrimination in White Sands with the victimized Americans and Koreans in Hiroshima after the bomb's explosion. A passionate call for human rights and justice, the novel incorporates the beauty of Indian legend and the poetry of apocalyptic destruction, but its loose structure is hard to follow, jumping from ``Jap'' internment camps to Pacific islands to cancer wards. The continuous introduction of new characters who never reappear and the surrealistic finale leave the reader floating in a confusing world of human cruelty, hope and destruction. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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