Hikari Oe and The Music of Light

20130109-111217.jpgAfter reading Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, my boyfriend lent me The Music of Light- The Extraordinary Story of Hikari and Kenzaburo Oe written by Lindsley Cameron. It chronicles the life of Hikari Oe, a boy who was born with a growth on his brain the size of almost another brain. His father Kenzaburo Oe after much thought and reflection decided to operate on the growth and Hikari survived. However, he suffered a form of autism, vision loss and constant seizures. Despite not being able to absorb knowledge and learn everyday tasks like most people, Hikari became one of Japan’s most renowned composers.

The book dealt thoroughly analyzed the connections between Kenzaburo Oe’s writing who was deeply inspired by Hikari and used it to tell the story of their lives. While very interesting, some of the book was rather repeated with sometimes entire section being stated again somewhere else in the book. In addition to telling the story of their lives, it also analyzes musical savants (even quoting some of Sacks’ work) and how Hikari is different from the norm because of his ability to compose music. Overall the book rejoiced on the positive qualities of Hikari’s condition.

I looked up some of Hikari Oe’s music after reading this book and found it simply beautiful. It is not over complicated and often inspired by music of classical composers like Mozart. It has a lovely calming effect.