Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kōbō Abe - The Box Man

Tomorrow night: Lafcadio's Adventures by André Gide discussion at 7 PM.  As usual, the prediction is that it will be worth the consideration of those to whom it may prove worth considering.  See you there!

For next month (October 14th, 7 PM) I chose The Box Man by Kōbō Abe.  I just finished reading The Secret Rendezvous (while procrastinating reading Ulysses) which knocked my socks off, so hopefully The Box Man is of similar calibre.  I enjoyed Abe's rare ability to find humor and human persistence in the face of absurdity and hopelessness without forgetting about concept, plot, and character development.  Also there's an abundance of erotic medical goings-on (at least in the case of The Secret Rendezvous), something easy to get jazzed about.

Kobo Abe, the internationally acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes, combines wildly imaginative fantasies and naturalistic prose to create narratives reminiscent of the work of Kafka and Beckett.
In this eerie and evocative masterpiece, the nameless protagonist gives up his identity and the trappings of a normal life to live in a large cardboard box he wears over his head. Wandering the streets of Tokyo and scribbling madly on the interior walls of his box, he describes the world outside as he sees or perhaps imagines it, a tenuous reality that seems to include a mysterious rifleman determined to shoot him, a seductive young nurse, and a doctor who wants to become a box man himself. The Box Man is a marvel of sheer originality and a bizarrely fascinating fable about the very nature of identity.

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