Japanese Literature: The Box Man By Kobo Abe.

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Book Review – The Box Man by Kobo Abe Author: Publisher: ISBN:

Kobo Abe Tuttle 1974, Alfred. A. Knopf 4-8053-0395-6

Translated by : E. Dale Saunders Pages: 178

Kobo Abe has a gift for writing philosophical thrillers. This novel is not to be missed. © Copyright. Peter Hanami, 2014. All rights reserved,

The Box Man is set in Tokyo in 1974. It details the life and the social status of a homeless man who lives on the street in a disused cardboard box. We learn about his thought processes, life on the street, his preparations ( how to select a good box, essential items to carry in the box), other box men, beggars, life inside the box, how he came to be in a box, his relationships, childhood, major life events, how he deals with a range of issues, survival skills and his view of society.

“One day a box man took up residence directly below the window of A’s apartment. Though A tried his best not to look, he did. No matter how he struggled to ignore the box man, he was very much aware of his presence. The first feelings that assailed A were anger and abhorrence toward a foreign body that has imposed itself, irritation and perplexity at having his territory encroached on illegally. But he decided to try and wait things out in silence for the time being” page 9

Kobo Abe has a skill at writing philosophical thrillers and this novel is a classic not be missed.

“Why do I persist in staring liking this? Perhaps because I am too cowardly. Or because I am too curious. When I think about it, I fancy I have become a box man just to go on being a voyeur forever. I want to spy on all sorts of places, and the box is a portable hole that occurred to me under the circumstances, it being impossible to punch holes throughout the world. I also feel like running away and also like pursuing. Which is it to be? page 45”

The Box Man by Kobo Abe www.japanesecustomer.com www.japanesecustomer.com

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