The Woman in the Dunes

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Vintage Books, 1964 - Fiction - 239 pages
25 Reviews
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hemlokgang - LibraryThing

For me, this novel is a mix of the "Myth of Sisyphus" and "Waiting For Godot". An entomologist becomes ensnared in a Japanese village in sand dunes. A life of pointless repetitions drive him nearly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jms001 - LibraryThing

"The woman, who had been like a patient dog, began begging with the abruptness of an umbrella turned inside out by a sudden gust of wind." I don't think I've ever heard of anything being compared to ... Read full review

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III
6
IV
15
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About the author (1964)

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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