The Woman in the Dunes

The Woman in the Dunes

Paperback

By (author) Kobo Abe, Introduction by David Mitchell

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  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 18mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141188529
  • ISBN 13: 9780141188522
  • Sales rank: 17,791

Product description

Dazzlingly original, Kobo Abe's "The Woman in the Dunes" is one of the premier Japanese novels in the twentieth century, and this "Penguin Classics" edition contains a new introduction by David Mitchell, author of "Cloud Atlas". Niki Jumpei, an amateur entomologist, searches the scorching desert for beetles. As night falls he is forced to seek shelter in an eerie village, half-buried by huge sand dunes. He awakes to the terrifying realization that the villagers have imprisoned him with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit. Tricked into slavery and threatened with starvation if he does not work, Jumpei's only chance is to shovel the ever-encroaching sand - or face an agonising death. Among the greatest Japanese novels of the twentieth century, "The Woman in the Dunes" combines the essence of myth, suspense, and the existential novel. Kobo Abe (1924-93) was born in Tokyo, grew up in Manchuria, and returned to Japan in his early twenties. During his life Abe was considered his country's foremost living novelist. His novels have earned many literary awards and prizes, and have all been bestsellers in Japan. They include "The Woman in the Dunes", "The Ark Sakura", "The Face of Another", "The Box Man", and "The Ruined Map". If you liked "The Woman in the Dunes", you might enjoy Albert Camus' "The Plague", also available in "Penguin Classics". "A haunting Kafkaesque nightmare". ("Time").

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Author information

Kobo Abe was born in Tokyo in 1924, grew up in Manchuria, and returned to Japan in his early twenties. Before his death in 1993, Abe was considered his country's foremost living novelist. His novels have earned many literary awards and prizes, and have all been bestsellers in Japan. They include THE WOMAN IN THE DUNES, THE ARK SAKURA, THE FACE OF ANOTHER, THE BOX MAN, and THE RUINED MAP.

Review quote

"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 pit...as a symbol of the undignified human predicament." -- Saturday Review

Flap copy

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.