Kōbō Abe ê 2 SummaryA Strange Dry Inhuman Book Just the Kind of Thing I LikeNote these are brief notes If you e intrigued by this book I have a longer essay with information about the very are catalog of Abe s own street photography here writingwithimagescom4 6 kobo abe thBox men are homeless men who walk around inside cardboard boxes The boxes are fitted out with viewing portholes little shelves hooks and supplies Several things make this book odd as well as bitter misogynistic and misanthropicThe descriptions of the box are so vivid so precise and unexpected that it seems they could only be the esult of actually building such a box and living in it Abe is extremely precise about what goes into the box what the box man carries around with him and how such a box is constructed I would expect that from any St Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves realist or surrealist novel but the details are inserted into unexpected places in the narrative where they would only occur to someone who has actually spent time in such a box The stains on the inside of the box the uses of a small shelf under the observation window the uses of a plastic tablet they outdo Nabokov in their myopicealism and they produce for me a creeping sense that the novelist did than just esearch his subject I haven t looked into this but it wouldn t surprise me if there were such things as box men in 1970s Japan and if Abe wasn t one himself That s a kind of narrative unreliability that goes well beyond what a eader might infer about the author of In Cold Blood or LolitaThe story turns around a box man another person who may want to become a box man and a nurse they both like The other man is explicitly a Doppelgaenger and projection of the narrator so in terms of men s Mr. Majeika and the Dinner Lady and Mr. Majeika and the Music Teacher roles the book is about the nakedness of walking around in public without a box the temptations of the box s security and the odd feeling of slipping out of society and living in and as a box In terms of women soles the book is substantially bleak The nurse only exists in the story to take off her clothes and pose She is watched by the box man once from outside a window and later from inside a hospital Twilight of the Idols room The narrator fantasizes about cutting her up and eating her but that s just a passing thought Mostly he is stricken with embarrassment about his own body and the sum total of his idea ofelations with women is watching them undress It s an openly childish masturbatory fantasy Over the course of the book the effect of that Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, relentless unreflective supposedly natural way ofepresenting Der Ritter und die Bastardtochter relations is extremely unpleasant When he wrote this book his imaginative universe was so shriveled so dried up and poisoned that he could only imagine women as things that are peered at from inside cardboard boxes I have no problem with violent misanthropic deranged or psychotic narratives or narrators but this one is also unreflectiveThe narrative is uirky to the point of opacity often uncontrolled wandering and shapeless At one point the narrator admi The Box Man was cancelled by the Atikokan Public Library after men began disappearing andeappearing with boxes over their heads probably in the young adult section One less person to ead a newspaper on a stick in 1982 was no big thing but in 1987 two people checked out and then checked out Cancelled is stamped on the title page Cancelled again on the next and the next page in case any wives of veterans were tempted to buy a box big enough for their Juice Newton hair dos In case any teenaged volunteers were lured by the forbidden cancelled is stamped again in places inside the book Someone got carried away with their stamper They must have been issued their own stamper that cancellation day How bad could the box man trend have been I started a broken bones trend when I was eight Five kids in my elementary school just had to be like me and sport casts It is dangerously painful to be trendy I have no idea where Atikokan is It could be a place of box people One day someone came along and packed all the boxes away including the cancelled bookNow it s mine I wish I felt like I had won The shut your eyes to another view out of your own window manTelevisions are boxes The first thing I ever learned to draw properly was a box I skipped the all too important step of stick figures Drawing is like math I ll be able to paint a mural on the ceiling of a cathedral before I ll ever draw a decent stick figure Shoulder pads from 1987 Aha were boxy So what the hell is so free about living in a box It s BOXED IN because you can t get out Because The Box Man didn t make a case for invisibility inside a box People are people okay some are like stick figures than others You can be ignored by the person you are sitting next to Even before cellphones and portable gaming machines people were ignored Put on the same outfit and vacant expression that everyone else is wearing Look like you should be there and you ll be ignored than anyone wearing a cardboard box It s not hard to go through a day without talking to a single person Don t open your mouth Don t smile at anyone Does it feel like freedom to be ignored It is freedom if you don t care What is freedom worth to you if you don t care Boxes have been seen floating on their own Like dust bowls Is anyone carried you if you don t care Boxes have been seen floating on their own Like dust bowls Is anyone carried insideThe Box Man eads like a how to I don t care how many times you say that putting on a box means that no one will notice you I will notice I m eally worried about this homeless chick I used to see every day She looked a lot like goodreads author KI Hope so I called her Homeless KI She was probably murdered He cares in the same telling way of do this and do that on how to be a box man He shouldn t have felt so My stuff and Get off my lawn But he did The Box Man is the voyeur feeling of knowing that there
Are Guys Who Goguys who go peep show booths in triple x shops I felt as close to him as I feel to those guys The box should have had a hole for his dick and he could have sat in a movie theater because what he saw was not eal My stuff Oh my stuffRupert Murdoch was found sleeping on piles of News of the World Someone kicked him out of his own and he s going to take up shop in all of our boxesWhat was so contagious about box men If you see one and there s a part of you that notices that there are box men you will have to become one YOU DON T NEED TO BE INSIDE A BOX TO NOTICE PEOPLE This book was built on a cheap ass piece of cardboard Hiding is from self hate It is not freedom Any invisibility fantasy I ever had was not about voyeurism I don t care what the stupid movies tell you about horny teen boys spying on their French teachers Kobo Abe you Blessed Are the Wicked really don t get it People who don t notice box men are pretending not to notice them just as your box man was pretending not to notice themselves Too bad you didn t have the depth my box is 3d to see itKids us. Un uomo si infila in una scatola di cartone in cui ha praticato una fessura spioncino e se ne va in giro per la città guardando inosservato Che cosa vedrà mai da uestoifugio che diventa la sua casa la sua conchiglia la sua nuova dimensione E ual è uesta nuova dimensione la libertà la solitudine la sicurezza L'esistenza innocua dell'uomo scatola è scombussolata dall'intervento di due personaggi che ordiscono intorno a lui un intrigo pericoloso in cui la se. ,
Es I like to believe that there was a certain philosophical depth to The Box Man but it clearly evaded me Other than a few spot on existential gimmicks it was mostly a drag for me since I had lost interest ather early in the book while the endless monologues following the narrator s non linear thoughts didn t eally help the situation By no means trash Just not what I expected Are you up for some weird fiction I mean REALLY weird fiction Reading this K b Abe novel I had the feeling I was floating six feet off the ground eader as artist of the floating world If you are up for existentialism of the oddball variety The Box Man may count among your all time favorite novels The core of existentialism is the opposite of abstract theory ather artists and writers of the existential school tend to focus on a particular individual facing the very human dilemma of living in a world freuently absurd and alienating a world where two men wait for Godot or a teacher walks the streets of a French town with a sense of nausea So keeping within the spirit of existentialism I will Stories from a Siberian Village refrain from generalizations and zero in on specific passages of K b Abe s 1974 one of a kind novel This is theecord of a box man I am beginning this account in a box A cardboard box that Reform, Red Scare, and Ruin reaches just to my hips when I put it on over my head The narrator of the tale is a writer who sheds his past identity to become a box man I agree completely with Jerome Charyn s statement from his 1974 New York Timeseview The action of the novel seems to take place inside the box which has become a kind of labyrinth for the box man a porous breathing skin The most important Grauwacht reason to use the standardized form is that it is hard to distinguish one box from another Here the box man shares a key concept for others who might consider becoming box men if you want to shed individual identity go all the way become a box man who cannot in any way be distinguished from other box man become as indistinguishable as humanly possible He goes on to provide advice on the ways one can deal with useful objects within one s box thermos flashlight towel pens change of clothing To construct your box there is no particular procedure to follow The greatest care must be taken when making the observation window Last of all cut theemaining wire into one two four and six inch lengths bending back both ends and prepare them as hooks for hanging things on the wall Indeed the most important aspect in being a box man is viewing the world through your slit in your box Curiously the box man sounds as if he has developed his own distinctively creative way to become a voyeur so imaginative that he views himself viewing through his slit as much as the people and objects of his gaze I ecall Ernesto Sabato saying hell is being looked at So for the box man he can create hell for others via his own gaze while not becoming the subject of the gaze of others As soon as anyone gets into this simple unprepossessing paper cubicle and goes out into the streets he turns into an apparition that is neither man nor box A box man possesses some offensive poison about him I can imagine the eaction of others in the city to the box man Back in the 70s I Lies, Damned Lies, and History recall a college student who wore a black cloak over his body down to his shoes and called himself The Black Bag He said after a few days the other students on campus got used to him Actually I thought this fellow wasather cool He sueezed the trigger The barrel of the gun and then the box made a noise like that of a wet trouser cuff snapped by an umbrella handle The lead bullet must have bored into the fellow s body with great force But neither the screams nor the jeers he had anticipated were forthcoming Ah The box man The New World reports a number of case studies including how one box man was attacked by a gunman Not everybody in society willemain passive when confronted by a box man The You Wouldn't Want to Be an Inca Mummy!: A One-way Journey You'd Rather Not Make rebounding bullet flying about inside his cranium would doubtless set his brain functions askew After observing the neighborhood for a while he drew the curtains over the windows and gingerly crawled into the box The place seemed very homelike He wanted to stay like that forever but in less than a minute he came to his senses and crawled out So the gunman tries out the box for himself Sorry it might appear like an appealing way of life conceptually or for the first five minutes but as he soon discovers not everyone is cut out to be aeal live box man 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 This is possibly Abe s craziest book which is eally saying something Not necessarily best as possibly Abe s craziest book which is eally saying something Not necessarily best as Rendezvous 10004 is crazy AND highly coherent but the ways in which this is flirts with incoherency are extremely interesting It s got the odd broken time frame diary format of Rendezvous but in actually a ambiguous and complex manner while the actual story has been stripped back to what first seems sheer bizarre simplicity but then becomes an echo chamber of variations There are a few cogent plot organizations if you dig but it s The Fashion Industry and Its Careers: An Introduction really experiential than that This isn t necessarily a book to be dissected for clues so much as traveled through getting jerked back and forth by all the narrative switchbacks andug ManeuversAny What S It Actually About what s it actually about I said simplePut on a box disappear Also about gaze looking being looked at There s some arguably problematic theory in this but the structure is so self undermining that it s hard to hold Abe accountable exactly There s a lot going on better to just soak it in Love from Left Field reflect considerInetrospect perhaps all Abe s books are actually about disappearances About the thin corrugated cardboard barrier that doesn t always prevent us from falling out of our lives entirely and into some other mode of unheretofore imagined existence This seems to be Abe at a pivotal point Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land reflecting all that came before or after in a sanely insane box labyrinth This novel messes with your head ReallyAs 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 uniue perspectiveWho is the Box Man Is he one Two Three Everyone You couldead 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 A surreal tale about a fragile identity and a place of the individual in this uncertain world We are Einführung in die germanistische Linguistik ready to believe the narrator but before long we are asking who is he and how much can we believe of what he tellsWas it aeal experiment or mystification fantasies of a troubled mind or just a dream There can be numerous interpretations. Asperato クロネコ彼氏の甘え方 [Kuroneko Kareshi no Amaekata] realismo situazioni persone e oggetti sono colti a tratti come attraverso una lente d'ingrandimento che dilata a dismisura le proporzioni delle cose senza alcun ordine gerarchico Con uesto tipo di bizzarra scrittura non lontana dalle lezioni di Kafka Kobo Abe costruisce una storia insieme buffonesca e drammatica che va ben al di là della semplice satira di un'alienante società contemporanea per giungere a una profonda meditazione sulla natura dell'uom.