Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe (CBR-IV #49)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #49/52
Published: 1962
Pages: 256
Genre: Japanese Literature

I picked this book up because it sounded really weird. A man named Niki is out collecting insects for his bug collection when he is kidnapped in this weird village near the sea. The sand dunes will destroy the city unless the inhabitants spend hours a day digging sand out from around their houses. This causes all of the houses to be inside of large holes in the sand that are impossible to escape from. Niki is left inside of one with a woman to help her dig the sand. People from above drop off supplies and water, so Niki and the woman are completely dependent on them to live. If they don't dig, they don't get supplies or water.

Supposedly this book has some deep existentialism meaning to it, but I read it purely for entertainment value. It's a very short book, so it moved quickly. There's only so much you can write about being trapped in a sand pit, so the length was probably just about right. 

Mostly this book just made me want to take a shower. Abe is great at describing how disgusting it must be to live eternally covered in a film of sand. Worth it for a quick read if you're into kind of weird books. 

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