砂の女 [Suna no Onna]

砂の女 [Suna no Onna]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, And Together Their Fates Become Intertwined As They Work Side By Side Through This Sisyphean Of Tasks Had my arachnophobia been replaced by Ammophobia fear of sand there was a certain moment in K b Abe s 1962 existential fable my hands would have turned extra clammy and my thumping heart would have likely jumped out of my chest to find safety What an odd story this was It reads something like a Japanese Kafka, infused with a bit of Nietzsche, and topped off with a light dusting of Beckett Abe was generally known for work where plot and character are usually subservient to idea and symbol This makes The Woman in the Dunes something of an anomaly Its plot is somewhat devious, addictive yes, but rather straightforward, told in almost abstract, allegorical terms.A nameless man arrives in a remote area of sand dunes with the hope of finding a certain type of sand beetle As the day draws to a close, villagers offer him shelter in a ramshackle old house at the bottom of a funnel shaped pit of sand, where descent is only possible by a rope ladder The only inhabitant, a young woman, spends most of the time shovelling epic amounts of sand into buckets, which are then raised up the sand cliffs, and sold off to construction companies, apparently On awakening the first morning the man finds the ladder gone, and no other means to escape, with his attempts to climb out of the pit becoming futile For the most part he is filled with both anger and fear His world is now a prison, not of brick walls, cells, or barbed wire fences, but of sand A strange relationship then develops between the man and woman, with an underlying weird sort of sexual tension going on Ultimately, when the two aren t stuck in the house together, the novel pits the man s strong will to escape this sun baked landscape of sand, against the villagers, who do what it takes to keep him down there, which does lead to some compelling reading One thing that struck me, is that most of the story happens either inside or right outside the woman s abode, like it could have been engineered for the stage On the down side for me though, it did feel like a really good novella dragged out into a novel Some of the narrative felt unnecessary, and I liked it s stripped down nature before it started to get too metaphysical for its own good. This book tell the story of an entomologist that, in his search for a specific beetle, ends up trapped by local villagers in a huge sand hole with a woman, where he is forced to work gathering sand As time pass by, his emotions and sanity begin to get twisted In his struggle to escape both human and nature obstacles, he tries different strategies, and we are caught cheering for his success, but kind of knowing that his chances are minimal, which is a good distressing experience.This is truly timeless, global, layered story that everyone should read A man is trapped in a sand pit by villagers while he is out hunting for insects in the dunes He is forced to shovel sand out day after day, as he plots to escape and forms an odd relationship with the woman who shares the pit The role of the woman is intriguing She is a sex object, his rational conscience, an imagined foe, an eventual partner friend and at the same time, very one dimensional The sand, the insects even, aredeveloped as characters than the woman is The real appeal of this novel is in the existentialist allegory It s life, as perceived by most humans at the various stages of maturity Anger, selfishness, rebellion Then, reason, planning, strategic alliances Lastly, acceptance, contentment, humanity At the end, as he is close to achieving his purported goal, he chooses to delay To delay death perhaps Is the message here that life is the journey and not the destination Is freedom all we imagine, or do we all harbor a hidden need to be enslaved I would love to spend some time with this book again perhaps with a class and study it closely There is much to appreciate from the sand and insect imagery, to the enigmatic woman, to the man s psychological states I can t take it all in with one read. When we mix surrealistic Kafkaesque climate with existential questions about sense of human being then we get something likeThe woman in the dunesTale about a man obsessed or maybe possessed with sand who during the trip to the sea is trapped in the dunes in a cave inhabited by a lonely woman Initially desperately tries to escape but the magnetic strength of the woman, her desperate fight with sand makes that what previously seemed to be a trap now becomes a sense of his life The first what comes to your mind is like hang on, I know that history It s likeThe Trialby Kafka The same anonymous hero, entangled in an absurd situation, condemned and imprisoned for unspecified faults.Prose is hallucinatory, atmosphere stifling and nightmarish This story is captured by the sand In fact, sand rules everyone and everything,sand never rested Reading you can almost hear rustle of the sand as if it was pouring from the book. 4.5 starsWithout the threat of punishment there is no joy in flight.In Kobo Abe s fantasy world of The Woman in the Dunes, an amateur entomologist on vacation finds himself in a remote coastal village built amid deeply undulating dunes There, he is tricked by a lonely widow and her neighboring villagers, trapped in deep pits shored by sand drift walls, to be charged with the task of shoveling back the ever sliding banks, persistent and never ending in its threat to entomb them Sand moves around like this all year long Its flow is its life It absolutely never stops anywhere Whether in water or air, it moves about free and unrestricted So, usually, ordinary living things are unable to endure life in it.The landscape of the dunes which Abe describes, of wood rotted boxed dwellings built at the bottom of shifting sand hills, could not realistically exist, marking the novel as a science fiction fantasy thriller In addition, its themes adopt surrealistic, dreamlike, metamorphosing features reminiscent of the works of Kafka, slowly shifting and deforming like the dunes themselves SandThings with form were empty when placed beside sand The only certain factor was its movement sand was the antithesis of all form.Abe s works are generically concerned with the human state of balance, whose fragility becomes evident in a life of pointlessness and insufferable futility In The Woman in the Dunes, Abe presents the grotesque sadness borne from a man s oppressive, fruitless daily life the image of a degraded human being who is isolated, trapped in the monotony of routine, unable to escape a meaningless existence What s hardest for me is not knowing what living like this will ever come to.What was this Hell of Loneliness he wondered Perhaps they had misnamed it, he had thought then, but now he could understand it very well Loneliness was an unsatisfied thirst for illusion.To effectuate some meaningfulness to his situation, whether for the choice to stay or freedom of escape, the protagonist heroically attempts to alter his circumstance, significantly going through a metamorphosis of his own, but like the true kinetic nature of sand, its waves of ebbs and flows, his fate lays ambiguous view spoiler The theory had been advanced that the man, tired of life, had committed suicide hide spoiler K b Abe Image from Vice.com This is a kafkaesque story of an entomologist who travels to a remote village in search of a new species of beetle It is he and not the bug who is captured The village is beset by relentless sand Their homes have already been buried so deep that it takes full time effort by residents to remove incoming sand from the holes in which their houses are now nearly buried to keep from being destroyed Jumpei is placed in the home of a widow to help her The story tells of his imprisonment and his attempts to escape There is much detail here about sand, but the true intent here is an examination of life What is existence What is the true role of man Do we control our fate If so, how much A bond grows between the man and woman, and becomes sexual Finally, he is faced with a choice, when freedom is offered, to stay or go There is one scene that is quite chilling, in which taunting village elders at the top of his hole tease him that they will set him free if he will only have sex with the woman in their view God playing with his human toys I appreciated the intellectual drive of the novel, but I never felt much of a visceral tie to the characters The absurdity of the story prevented that for me. While he mused on the effect of the flowing sands, he was seized from time to time by hallucinations in which he himself began to move with the flow This book is about a man who tricked and has to live in a house at the bottom of a sand pit with a woman They can t escape the sand which settles on them even as they sleep As much as they shovel it away, they can t get rid of it This is definitely a unique story I now knowabout sand than I probably need to I never really thought much about sand but I kind of didn t have a choice in this book. Since I started reading bothavidly andwidely several years ago, I ve spenttime analyzing different genres, different kinds of authors, and different kinds of literature In Jane Smiley s 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, she makes a number of observations about how classic French novels differ from classic British novels, and how American novelists differ from either I m not well read enough in French and British literature to judge the validity of her points, other than to notice that yes, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas do have a tone that is noticeably different from, say, Charles Dickens and George Eliot.All of which brings me to Japanese literature Which I haven t read nearly enough of since taking a couple of courses in medieval Japanese literature as an undergrad So far I have read several books by Haruki Murakami, Battle Royale, and now, The Woman in the Dunes I ve got severalin my queue.Haruki Murakami, Kobo Abe, and Koushun Takami are very different authors just as Charles Dickens and George Eliot are very different authors , but Japanese novels all have a very different feel from Western novels That is not to say they are particularly hard to understand or that they don t have the same elements of English language novels plot, characters, theme, storytelling, etc But Japanese literature seems to focus very much on the moment, and an individual s experience of it Long, descriptive passages about mundane details in the character s environment, or his mental ruminations, often wandering off onto bizarre sidetracks, almost as if the author is trying to describe how a person s thoughts actually work like, when you re focusing on the matter at hand, but somehow your mind makes a subconscious leap onto a completely unrelated topic.And that is how The Woman in the Dunes reads The story is of a Japanese schoolteacher and amateur entomologist who takes a little weekend trip to the beach He happens upon a small, very poor village that is being overwhelmed by the encroaching sands on all sides Needing a place to stay for the night, the villagers offer to put him up in the home of one of the locals, who turns out to be a widow living alone Her house is at the bottom of a sandpit and the only way in or out is by rope ladder Our unfortunate schoolteacher doesn t think anything is odd or sinister about this until he has lowered himself into the trap.The rest of the book is reallyabout Niki Jumpei s thoughts and experiences, and of course, sand Sand is everywhere Kobo Abe describes it its porosity, its viscosity, its physical qualities, its omnipresence the way gothic authors describe the brooding atmosphere and the dark manor By the end of the book you re feeling sand crawling up all your crevices, rubbing your skin raw, getting in your hair, and threatening to bury you.Jumpei s relationship with the widow, who is never named, is turbulent, sexual, ambiguous, and disturbing She was the bait for the trap, and she is by turns apologetic, vulnerable, pathetic, and callous One gets the impression she is the way Kobo Abe, as a Japanese man of a certain age, may see all women, as these opaque, unrelatable beings as prone to break into sudden charming laughter and offer you a massage as to turn out to be dangerous fairy tale creatures luring you into hell Certainly our protagonist, Jumpei, never quite relates to the widow as a fellow human being, but he seems to be completely disconnected from people in general The world he s been abducted from really wasn t much better than the world he is now trapped in, where he must forever shovel sand to keep it from burying the widow s hovel This metaphor seemed one of theobvious ones in the novel, but I m sure there were many others I missed, and like the other Japanese novels I ve read, I have the feeling that much imagery and symbolism is lost in translation.I can t really say how I felt about this book, other than that it was an interesting reading experience and the story is definitely haunting and weird and memorable, like a slightly surreal movie I definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in sampling Japanese literature.Oh, but speaking of surreal come on, all your Goodreaders who labeled this magical realism Kobo Abe is not Haruki Murakami There are no talking cats or parallel worlds in this book Okay, yes, parts of it are a little strange, but there is nothing that is, strictly speaking, fantastical about it It s not magical realism just because it s written in Spanish or Japanese, folks This book is horrifically claustrophobic and eerie.How much of our lives consist of frantically trying to stay afloat Life can be as fruitless as a man trapped under sand dunes digging to liveor living to dig Do we work to live or live to work If you think being held hostage in sand is fantastical, what do you think your life is, anyway This book wears you down It gets into your skin, your hair, under your fingernails The sand is everywhere The wind, the salt air, their eyes always watching You never breathe in all the way You can t see the horizon through the grains scratching the insides of your eyelids.There s a man and sand A lot of sand And a woman And it s all delusional, suffocating and brilliant He was like an animal who finally sees that the crack in the fence it was trying to escape through is in reality merely the entrance to its cage like a fish who at last realizes, after bumping its nose numberless time, that the glass of the goldfish bowl is a wall. 4.5 stars As others have noted, this is very much a Japanese Kafka but also a Japanese Camus,L Etranger than Gregor Samsa I was drawn into the story from the start, although it needs to be kept in mind that this is not your average plot oriented page turner A man disappears Enquiries are made as to the circumstances of his disappearance He doesn t seem to harbour a dirty secret, and he could be the type that disappears deliberately although the items he took with him tools for collecting insects do not suggest as much We learn early on that on the seventh year of his disappearance the police officially declare him a missing person so we know that there s no easy resolution This is going to be a long drawn out disappearance.Rewind seven years earlier a man with a keen interest in collecting insects, and in particular, in a certain kind of beetle that he thinks has not been identified yet, sets off for a place of sand dunes where he believesof this new species may be found We are treated to detailed descriptions of a weird, almost lunar, landscape which could be real, but, one suspects, islikely fantasticalBut, curiously enough, the areas where houses stood were not the slightest bit higher The road alone rose, while the hamlet itself continued to remain level No, it was not only the road the areas between the buildings were rising at the same rate In a sense, then, the whole village seemed to have become a rising slope with only the buildings left on their original level This impression becamestriking as he went along At length, all the houses seemed to be sunk into hollows scooped in the sand The surface of the sand stood higher than the rooftops The successive rows of houses sank deeper and deeper into the depressions The man stays around longer than he anticipated, and as night falls, he is greeted by some locals whom he asks for lodgings for the night After checking carefully that he s not an inspector at which point alarm bells should have gone off , they agree to offer him accommodation for the night, placing him with a young widow But the house where he ll spend the night is very strange indeed like the sunken houses described earlier, this, too, is sunk deeply into the sand, and the man descends to it by means of a rope ladder Once there, all sorts of strange things start to happen The woman tells him things about the sand which defy logic and modern science, for example, how the sand is moist and how it needs to be shoveled out every evening lest the village be burried in sand The man is suspicious he doesn t believe a word But he realises that something odd is going on when he wakes up with sand encrusted on his face, around his eyes and his mouth, having foregone the woman s advice to put a towel over his head as he sleeps The man now wants to leave the village and return to his usual activities He s a teacher, an insect collector, and has recently met a woman with whom he has sexual relations But there s no ladder, and neither the woman nor the villagers seem eager to offer him one All routes of escape seem cut off without a ladder he cannot get out of the enormous sand hole in which the house is buried, and without hard work to shovel out the sand, the situation will soon become precarious Will the man manage to find a way out Will he escape the villagers who now seem keener than ever to keep him in the village And, most important of all, will he hold on to his will to escape once a few attempts have failed This is a very existentialist piece of fiction, with forays into the meaning of life, freedom, and sexuality The way of life of the villagers seems entirely Sisyphean to the main character, and for that reason pointless, useless, and devoid of any purpose Surely, in the modern world the villagers could relinquish their nightly shoveling and find aeffective way of keeping the sand at bay They could migrate They could contact the authorities They could set up a charity Contact the newspapers, make a splash of their peculiar circumstances But how much of this is truly irrational compared to the daily routine of a teacher, a city dweller, an office worker Shoveling sand for a set number of hours a day, without meaning and without an ultimate purpose, how different is this really from our daily lives which give the illusion of freedom and pursposeful activity This is a depressing question, a question that the book forces you to confront At the same time, the writing has a hypnotic quality, that won t let you put it aside easily I am glad I have read this, and am grateful to Steven for recommending it I very much look forward to watching the film that was made of this book

K b Abe Abe K b , pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe, was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer, and inventor He was the son of a doctor and studied medicine at Tokyo University He never practised however, giving it up to join a literary group that aimed to apply surrealist techniques to Marxist ideology.Abe has been often compared to Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal, o

➭ [Ebook] ➨ 砂の女 [Suna no Onna] By Kōbō Abe ➹ – Online-strattera-atomoxetine.info
  • Paperback
  • 241 pages
  • 砂の女 [Suna no Onna]
  • Kōbō Abe
  • English
  • 26 March 2018
  • 9780679733782

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