The Woman in the Dunes
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The Woman in the Dunes

by Kobo Abe
Release date: 1964
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy

One of the premier Japanese novels of the twentieth century, The Women in the Dunes combines the essence of myth, suspense, and the existential novel. In a remote seaside village, Niki Jumpei, a teacher and amateur entomologist, is held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit where, Sisyphus-like, they are pressed into shoveling off the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten the village.

"Abe follows with meticulous precision his hero's constantly shifting physical, emotional and psychological states. He also presents... everyday existence in a sand pit with such compelling realism that these passages serve both to heighten the credibility of the bizarre plot and subtly increase the interior tensions of the novel." – The New York Times Book Review

"Some of Kobo Abe's readers will recall Kafka's manipulation of a nightmarish tyranny of the unknown, others Beckett's selection of sites like the sand a symbol of the undignified human predicament." – Saturday Review

updated 2017-01-21

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