After reading The Gracekeepers, I'm now ready to continue with the Japanese literature themed read. The next book on the list is The Woman in the Dunes, a book that is considered a classic.
Title: The Woman in the Dunes
Author: Kobo Abe
Date of Publication: 1991 (first published in Japan in 1962)
Number of Pages: 256
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. Together their fates become intertwined as they work side by side at this Sisyphean task.
About the Author
Kobo Abe was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer and inventor. He studied medicine at Tokyo University, although he never practiced it. His style of writing is often compared to that of Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal explorations of individuals in contemporary society. In 1951, he was awarded the Akutagawa Prize (the biggest literary prize in Japan) for The Crime of S. Karuma. In 1962, he received the Yomiuri Prize for The Woman in the Dunes while in 1967 he was awarded the Tanizaki Prize for his play Friends. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize and Kenzaburo Oe (who has already won it) declared that he deserved it.
The Woman in the Dunes was turned into a movie in 1964, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. This is only a small scene.