Review – Woman in the Dunes March 20, 2012Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Foreign, Literature.
Tags: "book review", "book reviews", books, japan, japanese authors, japanese fiction, kobo abe, literature, reading, woman in the dunes
by Kobo Abe
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.
** warning this review contains some spoilers**
A Goodreads review said it best it’s a “novel of erosion – erosion of resolve, erosion of morality, erosion of sanity”.
While Jumpei is held captive with the woman at the bottom of the sand pit, he devises every means of escape he can. None of them come to fruition. Ultimately he is trapped with her and slowly admits defeat in an ever winding loop of despair.
He also ends up in a sexual relationship with the woman. This, despite the fact that he has every intention of leaving her the first chance he gets. It’s quite out of character for him which leads to the “erosion of morality.” He also ends up in even worse situations which lends itself even more to the theme of “erosion of morality theme.
It’s not a cheerful book, but it’s a very good book. You are left wondering if there are certain things in life you have no choice but to accept. You are left wondering at the futility of things you cannot change.
So while I can’t recommend this book if you’re feeling down, I do recommend this book as an excellent read if you’re in a mood for a good think. It’s something I think everyone can relate to. I believe we’ve all felt the defeat of static of things things that seem unchanging despite all that we might do. Abe does an excellent job of portraying this.