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.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book. I read it for PewDiePie’s Book Review/Literature Club. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys literary fiction. I listened to it via audiobook, narrated by Julian Cihi, which was excellent.
The writer, Kōbō Abe, wrote in a beautifully expressive style that merged an intriguing storyline with philosophical theories of human attributes and behaviors that were taught in many of my college freshmen courses which added depth and richness to the characters. It was an interesting depiction of impulse and cumulative response. I loved the interjections of entomology and the descriptions of sand and all its properties. It was completely engrossing within its allegorical context. I’d be curious how it reads in the original language it was written in, that being Japanese.