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3.5 

The Woman in the Dunes

By Kobo Abe
The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

The Woman in the Dunes, by celebrated writer and thinker Kobo Abe, combines the essence of myth, suspense and the existential novel.
 
After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seashore, an amateur entomologist is offered lodging for the night at the bottom of a vast sand pit. But when he attempts to leave the next morning, he quickly discovers that the locals have other plans. Held captive with seemingly no chance of escape, he is tasked with shoveling back the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten to destroy the village. His only companion is an odd young woman. Together their fates become intertwined as they work side by side at this Sisyphean task.

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4 Reviews

3.5
Thinking Face“To what limit can a man go when everyone is against him? Kobo Abe presents us with a story of a man’s decline into an animal like state after being held captive with a woman at the bottom of a sand pit. There he is forced to work shovelling out sand, just for it all to return back to him the next day. This is done in order to help the village that these dunes threaten to destroy. I found this tale to be very thought provoking and saw many parallels between the insects, which our main character, Jumpei (mostly referred to as the man) is so fond of and himself. There was also a lot foreshadowing for what was to come and with his captivity there was this element of a quick decline into a mental state of a rabid animal - but also one of acceptance. Though I enjoyed this book, I did find at times it dragged on with long descriptions which flipped between first, second and third POV and wasn’t sure some of the time what was happening, but I believe it was all a part of the reading experience. It was almost as if we were experiencing this hallucinogenic journey with him and wasn’t sure what was real or what day it was. So though it was a tad bit confusing I still enjoyed the concept!”
Original writingImmersive settingDarkSexual assaultViolence
Anxious Face with sweat
SuspensefulUnpredictableDark

About Kobo Abe

Kobo Abe was born in Tokyo in 1924 and grew up in Mukden, Manchuria, during World War II. In 1948 he received a medical degree from Tokyo Imperial University, but he never practiced medicine. Considered one of Japan’s foremost novelists, his most famous works include The Face of Another (1964), The Box Man (1973), Secret Rendezvous (1977), and The Ark Sakura (1984). All of Abe’s books have been bestsellers in Japan and he was the recipient of numerous literary awards and prizes, including the Yomiuri Prize for The Woman in the Dunes in 1962. He collaborated with director Hiroshi Teshigahara on film adaptations of four of his novels—including The Woman in the Dunes—and was also widely known as a dramatist. He died in 1993.

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