HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Box Man: Kobo Abe by Kōbō Abe
Loading...

The Box Man: Kobo Abe (edition 2020)

by Kōbō Abe (Autore), E. Dale Saunders (Traduttore)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9721921,450 (3.6)1 / 78
Kobo Abe, the internationally acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes, combines wildly imaginative fantasies and naturalistic prose to create narratives reminiscent of the work of Kafka and Beckett. In this eerie and evocative masterpiece, the nameless protagonist gives up his identity and the trappings of a normal life to live in a large cardboard box he wears over his head. Wandering the streets of Tokyo and scribbling madly on the interior walls of his box, he describes the world outside as he sees or perhaps imagines it, a tenuous reality that seems to include a mysterious rifleman determined to shoot him, a seductive young nurse, and a doctor who wants to become a box man himself. The Box Man is a marvel of sheer originality and a bizarrely fascinating fable about the very nature of identity. Translated from the Japanese by E. Dale Saunders.… (more)
Member:kaixo
Title:The Box Man: Kobo Abe
Authors:Kōbō Abe (Autore)
Other authors:E. Dale Saunders (Traduttore)
Info:Penguin Classics (2020), Edition: 1, 160 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

The Box Man by Kōbō Abe

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Author Theme Reads: The Box Man by Kobo Abe9 unread / 9lilisin, May 2015

» See also 78 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The Box Man is a novel by the Japanese writer Kōbō Abe, known for his writing that explores themes of absurdity and alienation. The book is characterized by a sense of surrealism and blurring of reality and fantasy. The story follows the main character who chooses to live inside a box, isolated from the world as a commentary on society and the human desire for invisibility and control. The novel explores themes of self-isolation, paranoia, and the human desire for invisibility. The main character faces various challenges and obstacles, including harassment and assault for being a box man. He also struggles with temptation and desire for physical intimacy. The novel is written in a stream-of-consciousness style and uses symbolism and imagery to add to its enigmatic nature. ( )
  Kilburn_Adam | May 29, 2023 |
This novel messes with your head. Really.

As far as Kobo goes, I prefered Woman in the Dunes for pure entertainment, but the Box Man goes into uncharted territory (whereas Woman in the Dunes grasps at fairly traditional existentialism, albeit from a unique perspective)

Who is the Box Man? Is he one? Two? Three? Everyone? You could read this book a thousand times and still not unravel the mystery. I, of course, have my own opinion, but the beauty of this book is that you just can't stop trying to figure things out. I definitely recommend a read. I can't guarantee you'll enjoy it, but I can guarantee that you'll be either completely befuddled or completely obsessed. And befuddled. ( )
  mvolz | Jul 10, 2022 |
A “box man”, the narrator tells us, is not someone just sleeping outdoors on sheets of cardboard as many homeless people do, or in a full cardboard box as some do. A box man lives in his box, wears it all the time, even walks around in it during the day like a hermit crab. In fact, as a box man himself he stresses that he’s not only distinct from all other street people, but is treated with contempt by them. As for the box itself, on Page 4 we’re given a detailed set of do-it-yourself instructions for making one: corrugated cardboard is preferable, the kind that has shiny waterproofing on the outside, and big enough to cover you down to the top of your legs—the sort of box a fridge, say, might be delivered to your door in. You cut an observation window at eye-level, with semi-opaque vinyl screens which can be opened a chink like curtains; on the inside are wire hooks for hanging your few possessions…a small shelf…a plastic board for writing…
    And if all this is starting to sound a bit, well, strange, it’s much more than that.
    I’ve done my best to find out whether any of it is true—did people ever really walk around in such a box; was it a phenomenon seen for a time on the streets of central Tokyo in the early 1970s? To date I’ve found no hint of it at all in real life, which leaves it as a detailed and downright peculiar piece of imagining wholly typical of Kōbō Abe (and why I like his books).
    So what does he do with the idea? For a start, the format here is complicated: the main narrative (written by our box man) is interspersed with sections supposedly written by “A”, a second box man. There are what read like case notes, psychiatric ones perhaps; also a legal “affidavit”, newspaper clippings and odd, seemingly random, photographs. And if that sounds like a mess, it’s anything but—it’s meticulously put together and there are clues throughout: for instance, it turns out that before becoming a box man the narrator had been a photographer, and those weird photographs aren’t random at all.
    Overall I’d summarise it this way: The Box Man is about hiding, then watching other people; it’s about voyeurism—and you could probably see it as a metaphor as well: creating a false outer persona, like a mask, from behind which we inspect other people we pass on the street. But it’s also a murder-mystery. Running through it is the question of how many box men there actually are: many, two—or just one? Was there only ever one “box man”, a lone nut who chose to live this way (which is why he’s so despised by the other local street-dwellers who know perfectly well what he’s up to)? If so, then our narrator isn’t only “unreliable” (because there are some glaring inconsistencies between the differing accounts of what happened); what we’re seeing here is a completely unhinged mind, from the inside.
    Late in life Kōbō Abe was being talked about as a possible Nobel candidate, and I’m beginning to understand why. This is a deeply strange, an exceptionally peculiar, work of genius. ( )
  justlurking | Jul 4, 2022 |
I got about three-quarters of the way through this book while telling myself the whole way, "keep reading, maybe it will get better". I did not enjoy this book. I wanted to enjoy it, since I'm usually very into books with similar styles. It's hard for me to pinpoint what was wrong with it. The concept was interesting, the very fluid prose is something I normally like, the confusion over what is real and what is imagined... All the pieces seem right, but it just didn't work for me.
  widdersyns | Jul 19, 2020 |
It's a good book, juggles fiction, poetry and more theoretical writing in a way which allows the reader a variety of writings on the core theme of the novel: being a viewer/being viewed. What makes or breaks the book, in my opinion, is the changing of narrators. At first, it's manageable, playful - Calvino-esque. However as the novel goes on, it's more and more difficult to keep track of who's who. Sure, this is a great decision to illustrate the anonymity of the box m(a/e)n, but after a while it detracts from the stories being told.
I also wanted to like the asides and pseudo-marginalia but most of it didn't add much to the story, it felt more deployed for texture. At first it was decent for characterization, but ultimately it made me feel as if there were bigger plans to try to have the pages of the book resemble the inside of the box, and for whatever reason it didn't fall through.
Overall, an inciting, original and somewhat erotic story which is unnecessarily strayed through the anonymity (and perhaps even physical constraints) it attempts to emulate. ( )
  michaeljoyce | Dec 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kōbō Abeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rosset, SuzanneTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauders, E. DaleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
This is the record of a box man.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Kobo Abe, the internationally acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes, combines wildly imaginative fantasies and naturalistic prose to create narratives reminiscent of the work of Kafka and Beckett. In this eerie and evocative masterpiece, the nameless protagonist gives up his identity and the trappings of a normal life to live in a large cardboard box he wears over his head. Wandering the streets of Tokyo and scribbling madly on the interior walls of his box, he describes the world outside as he sees or perhaps imagines it, a tenuous reality that seems to include a mysterious rifleman determined to shoot him, a seductive young nurse, and a doctor who wants to become a box man himself. The Box Man is a marvel of sheer originality and a bizarrely fascinating fable about the very nature of identity. Translated from the Japanese by E. Dale Saunders.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.6)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 1
2 18
2.5 3
3 62
3.5 10
4 48
4.5 6
5 44

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 204,267,410 books! | Top bar: Always visible