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Old 02-28-2017   #1
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Kobo Abe

I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread dedicated to Abe, since he is mentioned somewhat regularly on this forum.

On Saturday, I read his play Friends, which was fabulous. It could be considered an extention of Sartre's No Exit--friendship as a form of rape.

Also reading Inter Ice Age 4 at the moment. Enjoying it so far, but I'll get back to you all for a more informed opinion.

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Old 02-28-2017   #2
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Re: Kobo Abe

Interesting, I will check out that play. I think the easiest to get into are Woman in the Dunes and The Face of Another, probably because they were written 2 years apart from each other. I tried reading The Ruined Map a while ago, and the meandering plot made me give up.

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-Narutaru
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Old 02-28-2017   #3
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Re: Kobo Abe

I recently picked up his short story collection Beyond The Curve, which wasn't very easy to get hold of.
I was on the fence about buying it (it was more than I was willing to pay) until I read that one story concerns a man whose existence is so futile that he lets himself be talked into becoming a tree on display in an arboretum. That sealed the deal.

Woman of the Dunes is great. Though I remember being jolted by the brief salacious section, which let it down slightly.
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Old 02-28-2017   #4
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Re: Kobo Abe

I hope that it was my recommendation that took you to Beyond The Curve! I try to mention it whenever there's a discussion about Abe, as it is so rarely recognized.

Secret Rendezvous is legitimate insanity. It's perhaps my second favorite book of all time. The Box Man is great but I don't regard it quite as highly.

Also, as far as the plays, the copy of Three Plays that Columbia University press put out is outstanding. It includes Involuntary Homicide, Green Stockings, and The Ghost is Here. I can only think of two playwrights, one old and one new, to compare these to. The first is Ionesco and the latter is Eric Basso. All firmly rooted in the nonsense of everything.
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Old 03-01-2017   #5
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Re: Kobo Abe

The Woman in the Dunes for me was a compelling read.I will definitely check out Secret Rendezvous.Has anyone read The Ruined Map ?

They were watching, out there past men's knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.
― Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
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Old 03-01-2017   #6
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Re: Kobo Abe

Kobo Abe's Inter Ice Age 4 was the very first adult novel I ever attempted to read. For some reason it had been shelved in the children's section of my local library. I was 8 years old, I selected it and took it home and tried to read it, but it completely baffled me and I gave up after about ten pages....

I didn't try to read another adult novel for another two years, when I tried (and loved) H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man.

Many many years later, after reading Abe's The Woman in the Dunes and regarding it as a tremendous book, I sought out Inter Ice Age 4 and tried it again. It's an easy and compelling read, of course; but it's not surprising that as an 8 year old I found it beyond me....

This is making me wonder if I should start a thread dedicated to asking the question: what was the first adult novel you attempted to read (or did read successfully)?

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 03-01-2017   #7
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Re: Kobo Abe

Quote Originally Posted by Shear View Post
I hope that it was my recommendation that took you to Beyond The Curve! I try to mention it whenever there's a discussion about Abe, as it is so rarely recognized.
Yes, it must be. I'm terrible at remembering who recommended what, but it was definitely somebody here at TLO, so thank you!
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