Read L'uomo scatola by Kōbō Abe Antonietta Pastore Online


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 questo rifugio che diventa la sua casa, la sua conchiglia, la sua nuova dimensione? E qual è questa nuova dimensione: la libertà, la solitudine, la sicurezza? L'esistenza innocua dell'uomo-scatola è scombussUn 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 questo rifugio che diventa la sua casa, la sua conchiglia, la sua nuova dimensione? E qual è questa 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 seduzione gioca, però, un ruolo importante. L'uomo-scatola dal suo finestrino osserva, smaschera finzioni e messe in scena, vede al di là delle apparenze la realtà e ne viene coinvolto a un punto tale da rischiare la perdita della propria identità. Ma quale identità? Esiste veramente un uomo-scatola? Ignorato da tutti, fa ancora parte degli esseri umani?Un clima decisamente surreale domina tutto il romanzo e nel contempo, in modo paradossale, riesce a coniugarsi con un esasperato 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 questo 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'uomo....

Title : L'uomo scatola
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788806124625
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

L'uomo scatola Reviews

  • Kimley
    2019-03-22 08:22

    A mystery-filled riff on the nature of identity, the significance of the gaze, the nature of looking and being looked upon and how this defines who we are.The story is told primarily in the first person but we never know exactly who is doing the telling. Is it the box man (a man who, no surprise, lives in a box he has strapped on over his body so he cannot be seen), the fake box man (a doctor who tries on a box for himself and is a wannabe box man) or someone else - perhaps Kobo Abe who is obsessively scribbling this story on the inside of his own box?There is a murder, or a suicide or an assisted suicide but we're never sure who the victim is or exactly what goes down.There is a menage à trois between the box man, the fake box man and a seductive nurse who allows these men to gaze upon her in various states of undress.There are questions about what it means to be looked upon. How does it define who we are? If you're hidden in a box and nobody looks at you, what are you? Like the proverbial falling tree in the forest, if you're not seen, do you exist? Or does the box become a kind of coffin?In seeing there is love, in being seen there is abhorrence. One grins, trying to bear the pain of being seen. But not just anyone can be someone who only looks. If the one who is looked at looks back, then the person who was looking becomes the one who is looked at.

  • Jim Elkins
    2019-04-08 03:44

    A Strange, Dry, Inhuman Book: Just the Kind of Thing I Like"Box men" are homeless men who walk around inside cardboard boxes. The boxes are fitted out with viewing portholes, little shelves, hooks, and supplies. Three things make this book odd, and the last two of them also make it bitter, misogynistic, and misanthropic.1. I read the book because it uses photographs, and I am trying to survey 20th century books that use illustrations in fictional settings. This book has one of the most idiosyncratic uses of photography I've found. There are a half-dozen grainy black and white illustrations distributed through the text. Each one has a few lines of text underneath. At first it seems those captions are excerpted from the novel itself, but it turns out they aren't. Even at the end of the book, a reader isn't quite sure where those text excerpts are supposed to come from. Of the half-dozen photos, only the first one connects with the narrative: it shows a figure walking away into the darkness. It fits, sort of, with a central episode in the story. In general, we're supposed to think the photographs are made by the narrator, a box man and photographer; but they aren't described in the text. It's as if they come from a separate part of the narrator's life, and their accompanying texts come from a diary the narrator doesn't mention. And that lack of reference becomes itself increasingly odd.2. The descriptions of the box are so vivid, so precise and unexpected, that it seems they could only be the result 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 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 myopic realism, and they produce, for me, a creeping sense that the novelist did more than just research 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 reader might infer about the author of "In Cold Blood" or "Lolita."3. Those first two points are quizzical and memorable. This last point is unpleasant. The 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 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's roles, the book is substantially more 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 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 of relations with women is watching them undress. It's an openly childish, masturbatory fantasy. Over the course of the book, the effect of that relentless, unreflective, supposedly natural way of representing relations is extremely unpleasant. If Abe had thought of this state of affairs ironically, or if he had tried to analyze it, or if he had presented it as a degeneration of normal relations, then it could have worked: but 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 unreflective, and therefore especially sour.The narrative is quirky to the point of opacity, often uncontrolled, wandering, and shapeless. At one point the narrator admits he has made up the other "box man" entirely; several pages are devoted to a fantasy of turning into a fish and drowning; the narrative is often interrupted by notes about the color of the writer's ink or the nature of the paper he is writing on. I take all those shapeless experiments as strategies to keep writing, to get the bizarre story down on paper. I also take the entire novel as a purge: Abe has lived this way, somehow, and somehow he wants to get past it. A fascinating and very memorable book.There is more on this on my writingwithimages site.

  • Mariel
    2019-04-05 05:30

    The Box Man was cancelled by the Atikokan Public Library after men began disappearing and reappearing with boxes over their heads (probably in the young adult section). One less person to read 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 more 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 book.Now it's mine. I wish I felt like I had won... The shut your eyes to another view out of your own window man.Televisions 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 more 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 more 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 away inside?The Box Man reads 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 really 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 go to 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 real. My stuff! Oh, my stuff!Rupert 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 boxes.What 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 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 it.Kids used to bump my head with my twins on the school bus. They'd ask me if I felt it when they abused her. There's a kind of feeling it too that's called empathy. If you're going to make a case for actual infection you are going to have to do better, Kobo Abe. Get under my big enough umbrella.Maybe I'd get a disguise like Kobo Abe's thick black frames. Or one with a fake nose and mustache. Four eyes and extra powerful sense of smell! If I mimed a box I could open new invisible doors (this book really was bullshit).In seeing there is love, in being seen there is abhorrence. One grins, trying to bear the pain of being seen. But not just anyone can be someone who only looks. If the one who is looked at looks back, then the person who was looking becomes the one who is looked at...Hogwash. You have to look at yourself and MAYBE you'll understand a little bit of what anyone else is about because you bothered to step out of a tiny box to live in. Now why would anyone want to hide. I know why I would.P.s. I realized that because my uncle is homeless (by choice) I can thank Jamie Foxx (or Will Smith. That's almost as good) for portraying homeless people on the big screen with such compassion.

  • Nate D
    2019-04-01 04:23

    This is possibly Abe's craziest book, which is really saying something. Not necessarily best, as book:Secret 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 more 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 really more 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 and rug-pulling maneuvers.Any, what's it actually about. As I said, simple:Put 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, reflect, consider.)In retrospect, 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, reflecting all that came before or after in a sanely insane box labyrinth.

  • Marielle
    2019-04-16 05:36

    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.

  • Chris_P
    2019-04-06 10:44

    Promising as its weirdness may have seemed to me, sadly I failed to connect. Having read and loved The Woman in the Dunes, 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 rather early in the book, while the endless monologues following the narrator's non-linear thoughts didn't really help the situation. By no means trash. Just not what I expected.

  • Amy
    2019-03-29 05:44

    So this book is weird, and I have to confess that I wasn't always exactly sure what was going on...Mainly the story reads like a journal of a "Box Man" or basically someone who has decided to drop out of society in favor of wearing a cardboard box at all times. However, you can also tell that Abe has a background in science (medicine), because we are given detailed directions at the beginning regarding the construction of the box and specific details about survival methods, as though we were reading a manual on "How to be a Box Man." The story can be viewed as an examination of the intentionally homeless, existentialists, or a comment on the nature of identity. There's also a lot concerning the act of seeing and being seen. Also, sexual frustration or deviancy seems to have a correlation with choosing the "box."There isn't a very concrete plotline, but we know that a box man is shot a by an air rifle and also offered 50,000 yen to discard his box. Tension is great between box men and the rest of society. Later, he has interactions with a fake box man and a woman who seems to be perpetually nude. Overall, I enjoyed the format and the issues the story examines. An unconventional read.

  • T for Tongue-tied
    2019-04-04 05:25

    "The Box Man" offers a true parade of endless antagonisms within the text. Whoever the narrator really is - and believe me, it is not easy to answer this question - he is stranded in an impossible continuum that prods him further and further into himself, only to confirm that the exit from this never-ending tunnel does not in fact exist. The box itself seems to have a double meaning - it serves not just as a hideout from a society but also as an object of desire that can be linked to the ultimate capitalistic dream of obtaining and possessing- weirdly enough, loads of people want to get a piece of cardboard for themselves, whether it is by using money, force or seduction. Historical and economic contexts aside, "The Box Man" combines surrealistic imagination with naturalism and although it does not really deliver what one would call a coherent plot, the reader has a feeling that there is some sort of code beneath the surface just waiting to be broken into palpable meanings. The whole intrigue involving the box man's endless scribbling on the walls of his cardboard confinement is heavily marked by Kafka's influence, however annoyingly redundant this statement may sound after countless comparisons having been made between the above and Kobo Abe. Reality not being able to decide on its own boundaries and other deeper connotations aside, if you want to learn how to make a box that would match and replace the comforts of your Ikea-inspired apartment, this book will give you quite detailed instructions on how to go about it. Alternatively, if you are particularly hooked on female legs, "The box man" may turn out to be your kind of thing too ("Her legs especially were as delicate and graceful as the rails of a railroad seen from an eminence, stretching away into the distance"; "The backs of her knees were glossy and beautiful like the inside of a shell" etc, etc, etc). If this does not convince you for any reason, you can always take a more traditional approach and ponder on the current condition of humanity wrapped up tightly in its own fears and obsessions - "The Box Man" will not disappoint you here. Finally, to add to the set, the language of the book is quite good too, even poetical at times, with subtle symbolism and metaphors marking the pages every now and then. And the overall feeling of not quite knowing who was who and what the hell it all meant in the end? - don't despair, just take the narrator's words for granted and let them comfort you: "The important thing is not the end. The thing to consider is the reality of your feeling, the fiery wind on your skin".

  • Sergio
    2019-04-15 08:23

    A surreal tale about a fragile identity, and a place of the individual in this uncertain world. We are ready to believe the narrator, but before long we are asking who is he and how much can we believe of what he tells?Was it a real experiment or mystification, fantasies of a troubled mind, or just a dream? There can be numerous interpretations.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-24 11:31

    So much abject horror. I liked Woman in the Dunes more-- it was more straightforwardly existentialist, made a bit more sense to me, retained powerful imagery-- but I still had a lot of fun with this one.Every image Abe conjures up brings to mind a different nightmarish thing I've encountered: the Japanese horror films of Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Miike, Beckett's Endgame, Eraserhead, the music of Throbbing Gristle, the oeuvre of David Cronenberg. Note the overwhelming predominance of films on this list... it's a very cinematic novel, going so far as to include unsettling photos against black fields interspersed periodically throughout the book.I know there are probably deep Freudian drives at work through the characters, but I don't know a great deal about that, so I'll leave that discussion up to someone with a degree in Lacanian psychoanalysis or some such thing. The whole thing is a car crash of modern primitivism, medical science, questions on authenticity and identity, and uncomfortable sexuality. Create two wheels, one with various psychoanalytic concepts, and one with themes from the Box Man. Spin simultaneously. Blam, instant thesis generator!

  • heel grabber
    2019-04-16 10:35

    Kobo Abe made really high quality, surreal fiction. "Japan's Kafka" or whatever,(IMHO, any critic who resorts to any version or variation ofthat fucking meaningless trick ought to be fired forlaziness, then blacklisted for disrespect.)so if you are into writing serious surreal prose, I'd check him out.Oh, and I like The Box Man better than Woman In The Dunes; so if you liked WITD and happen to like the same things I like you'll probably prefer this book too.(Note: That fucking mad-ass trick where I totally deflatedthe sentence before it was finished is known as "Shirkery". "Shirkery" is only one of the many writing secrets I learnedwhile attending the Secretive Writers Retreat and PlasticBookmark Foundry. Ask me about it when you have $700,and feel ready to forge writing so real it hurts to read.)protect yo' neck,Jacob

  • David
    2019-03-30 08:45

    I found this playfully odd, though serious at the same time. I think I overall preferred "The Woman in the Dunes," but there were some parts of this that I preferred over that. I suppose that doesn't really help anyone real much reading this, but with this book I don't think you can hope for that. Oh well, back to the box.

  • Tony
    2019-03-30 11:29

    I will admit I'm perplexed by this book. There's a lot going on at the same time as there's very little action, and a dense cloud of unarticulated identities. The questions of identity and perception, originating from and reflecting back upon the self as well as piercing one from an outside source, are the central concerns of the story, and in problematizing common conceptions of these ideas, the narrative itself becomes problematic, approaching meta-narrative and introducing other tangential elements like the questions of authorial identity and intent, and the duality of our own voyeuristic tendencies - watching because we are desperate to be watched ourselves, or else because we're incapable of it. Linking a lot of these themes is a muted acknowledgment that Japanese society (or perhaps any form of Western-style culture) underlies the tensions at work in the novel. Lurking somewhere just below the horizon, or perhaps looming above and out of sight of the observation window, is the world at large from which the box man has excommunicated himself. This particular aspect is addressed more thoroughly in The Ark Sakura (where one might recognize a re-imagined box man, fake box man, doctor, and nurse), but even here it is significant that the box man withdraws into his corrugated shell, where everything essential in life is literally within arm's reach, where one is responsible to no one but him or her self, and where typical social desires can be sublimated into the dualism of misanthropy and self-loathing.Just an aside for all you Freudians - it is perhaps the most pivotal revelation of the novel that the primal scene, at least as experienced by the box man, is of a voyeuristic nature altogether different from what we find in the annals of classical psychoanalysis.

  • Andrew Bourne
    2019-03-29 11:19

    Why have I read this 3 times? People always say it is inscrutable, though must it be scrutable, what is valuable about scrutability anyhow?Yes, Abe is using a lot of modern fiction devices--compression of time, faulty narrators, plot hiccups, and even some of my personal fiction peeves. But he is sort of a prankster, a rug-puller, a juggler, a humorist, and I appreciate that, especially some of the more wanton chapters towards the end. "The Box Man" is dimensional, there is something spatial about the way he put it together; when you read it straight through it comes out crooked, and the crooks are never to the left or right, but (forgive me for this) on the Z-axis somehow. Dimensional. Does that make any sense? ...Yet, I do not think it is inscrutable, or random.I wonder if females take an interest in this book because I find it intensely male, all wrapped up in the problems seemingly specific to men and the construction of their identities, so-called careers, flights from responsibility, sexual objectifications, social personas, formative embarassments, fatherhood issues, relation to women, wasteful fantasy, general ineptitude, violent solutions, guilt and so forth. The female characters,despite some background rounding, exist primarily to give the male narrators an excuse to chew themselves up... perhaps for pity. Selfishness is a word that pops into my mind.

  • Jeremy
    2019-04-14 06:32

    Abe is a writer who takes one really odd, central conceit or image, in this case, that of a derelict who lives his life inside a cardboard box, and builds a dark, disorienting world out of it. There are bizarre shifts in time, identity and perspective as the box man sort of disintegrates and becomes whatever or whoever he sees around him. Much like 'Woman in the Dunes' which I thought was much better, Abe makes these absurd scenarios bleed outward and infect everything around them. Kind of like with the whale from 'Moby Dick', the symbol at work here seems to simultaneously represent everything and nothing but itself, which is kind of the point I think?This whole thing works because Abe's prose has this clinical, scientific precision, and he puts that to good use describing the skittering, staccato world of an impossibly weird individual. This is a deeply beguiling, deeply weird book.

  • արմին վիշապաքաղ
    2019-04-05 10:38

    էս կոբոյից տենց էլ գլուխ չհանեցի, չհասկացա ինչ եմ զգում նրա գործերի հանդեպ, բայց միանշանակ ա, որ ինքը դիմում ա հույզերիդ, ավելի ճիշտ՝ զգացումներիդ՝ հենց շատ զգայական֊ֆիզիոլոգիական֊մարմնային ձևով, մասնավորապես՝ հասարակություն֊անհատ, մեկուսացում֊կոնտակտ կոնտինիումի վրա գտնվող զգացումներիդ֊զգացմունքներիդ։ չգիտեմ մարդ կգտնվի՞ որ աբե կարդալուց սուր չզգա էդ հակասությունը ու կոնֆլիկտը հենց իր մեջ։ բայց չեմ կարող ասել, թե դուրս եկավ կամ չեկավ, դուր գալու կամ չգալու բան չէր

  • Brandon
    2019-04-12 05:41

    I've watched all five of Teshigahara's films of Kobo Abe's stories, so picked this up as supplementary identity-crisis deleted-scene. One quick airplane-bound reading later, The Box Man reigns as the best, most insane Abe story, the excellent films knocked down to second place.

  • Χρήστος
    2019-04-08 04:24

    Πειραματικό, μπερδεμένο, γοητευτικά μυστηριακό κείμενο. Πρέπει σίγουρα να το ξαναδιαβάσω.

  • Carl
    2019-04-12 04:27

    if [ellison's] the invisible man and a rollercoaster were to somehow mate, this book would eat their baby.

  • Taka
    2019-03-30 04:38

    Damn--J-Lit Binge #11: The Box Man by Kobo Abe.This is another masterpiece from Kobo Abe. In its sheer metafictional ingenuity, it probably surpasses Nabokov's Lolita, Danielewski's House of Leaves, and other tricksters of modernism.Damn.Seemingly, it's a story about a man wearing a cardboard box getting involved in a mysterious series of events involving a beautiful nurse he falls in love with, a fake doctor who wants to become the new box man, and a real doctor who is a drug addict and who is killed (with his consent) by the fake doctor.And things get all weird as it seems like the "book" is written by the fake doctor and then the real doctor. Then the "author" returns to the original voice and starts rambling, asking the reader rather incoherently to find out who was NOT the box man instead of who was the box man. Things get even more confusing as events seem to happen out of chronological order and there are these footnotes inserted by someone...The story ends more or less abruptly and you're left to wonder what just happened and WHO wrote the story. Of course, the book is meant to be read more than once and it's supposed to make sense.So I cheated and looked up. It's crazy how many tricks the author manages to squeeze into this seemingly simple, short story (clocking at 230 pages, which would probably be about 100 pages in US-size books).First, there are these discrepancies and contradictions throughout the text, and the reader can figure out when the author is lying. The rules of good detective fiction applies to the book. So for example, all the clues are given to the reader. As a realist story, any ridiculous things—like the claim that there are countless box men in the country—cannot be true. The footnotes that describe the pen's ink and handwriting, for example, cannot be false because they are specifically for the reader OUTSIDE the story. This is a simple story with some crazy metafictional background stuff going on, and it's mind-blowing (and mind-muddling). Abe took six years in completing this and it makes sense. It's that complex and innovative.Highly recommended, but only for those who like this kind of stuff.

  • Tenma
    2019-03-22 04:37

    Good grief! If possible, I would have given this thing a negative rating ... What an atrociously boring book .. His "the woman in the dunes" was equally boring, but at least it had a story line that you could decipher in between the lines ... "The box man" has nothing ... If I ask you to write 170 pages of whatever comes to your mind about yourself wandering around with an oversized box on your head, you would probably write a far more entertaining book than this... I guess this is what Kobo Abe did when he pinned down his thoughts in this book, which I would not dare call a novel .. It is not even social commentary ... Just a babbling about nothing ... If you enjoy reading other peoples' rambling thoughts about whatever, then you probably would enjoy this ... However, if you are looking to read something fun, entertaining, educational, or just to kill time then by all means ... skip this one ... I have four other of his novels on my list to read and I am already feeling the pain ...

  • Sonia
    2019-04-16 10:43

    At the onset, I was charmed. I thought I was going to enjoy this book, but then something happened. While in a fugue state, I took a hit of acid or od'd on hallucinogenic shrooms because I seriously don't know what the fug else happened in the book. (Let's set aside the fact that it's seriously sad that whilst in said fugue state, rather than going out and accidentally killing a hooker, I read instead.) I'm getting visuals of skinny girl legs pumping a bicyle, an empty box under a bridge, two box men staring at each other, a bunch of garbage, and the stench of my own unwashed confusion - scarily similar to the body odor emitted by a box man after a hot August day.Oh wait, I didn't have any acid or shrooms to take, so the book must have just been a Lynchian nightmare I had after eating too much KFC. There were some redeeming qualities but mostly this book was just finger-lickin not for me.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-14 10:22

    The problem of being looked at. Gazed upon. I wish Kobo Abe had been a feminist. Overall, I found it too conceptual to actually like. By chance, I happened to be handling a lot of boxes during the course of reading this and I have to say they're difficult to resist. They kind of want to be placed over the head.

  • David
    2019-04-05 07:38

    I liked this much more than I expected. I planned to say something like "Kobo, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't read it." But I found that I could. There's two or three really good bits amongst a very tolerable amount of po-mo bullshit (writing upside down, photographs, characters arguing over who is writing the story, etc).

  • Steve
    2019-03-25 03:30

    The fact that all I do now is sit in the corner with no clothes on inside a box must be some testament to this book's literary power, but it's driving my wife and kid bonkers. Otherwise, three stars.

  • Beka Adamashvili
    2019-03-23 06:18

    ცოტა უცნაური წიგნია. ბოლომდე ვერ გავიგე, ბოლომდე გავიგე თუ ვერ გავიგე. ალბათ, out of the box მეტი ფიქრია საჭირო.

  • Merve
    2019-04-16 10:43

    Daha önce yarım bıraktığım bir kitap, bugün tekrar döneyim dedim. Yazarın anlatımı ilginç ve karamsar bir taraf sahip. Bu karamsarlık başta beni çekse de pek alışabildiğimi söyleyemeyeceğim, hatta bir yerden sonra klostrofobik dünyası beni kendinden uzaklaştırdı. Yazarın başka kitaplarına bakıp anlatımı hakkında daha iyi bir fikir sahibi olmalıyım.

  • Bbrown
    2019-03-21 11:21

    Kobo Abe is perhaps my favorite Japanese author—even when writing the story of disaffected, socially isolated men struggling with identity and the tension between traditionalism and Westernization, he does it his own way, clearly distinguishing himself from the other Japanese writers like Sōseki, Mishima, Dazai, and Kawabata that have written on the same subject. The Box Man exemplifies this, as Abe engages with the challenges of modern urban living, and issues like social isolation and lack of self-fulfillment, but in a manner that has humor, elements of metafiction, and that is generally far more entertaining to me than the works of the other Japanese authors I’ve listed. This book, featuring a main character that walks around a city with most of his body covered in a large cardboard box, hits a variety of off-the-wall tones (I'm not going to go over the "action" of the book, as the experiential aspect of reading this one is far more important). As a matter of personal preference, I much preferred the whimsical tone it starts out with and sporadically returns to, rather than the other tones and the erratic shift between them, which (while understandable), is what made me find this book good but not great.The city is a place of social overload, where you are always surrounded by people, become addicted to constant streams of news, and obsess over material goods. Abe believably presents the allure of being a box man to escape these conditions, the large cardboard box being a bubble of isolation in the midst of the city. The box man attains freedom from social obligations, but not at the cost of societal judgment: the box, and the anonymity it provides, protects from that. While a panhandler has done away with his shame for a livelihood that relies on being noticed, a box man retains his shame and relies on being actively ignored to survive. Living in a box, the materialism and social overload of the city are eliminated, as you retain only the essential objects and only interact with other people minimally. Who hasn’t wanted to run away from society, to some cabin in the woods “away from it all?” The box presents the idea of such a cabin, but one that lets you remain in the city as an observer, without the reciprocal burden of being observed. In some of Abe’s depictions, like when the narrator sits beneath a bridge by a canal to get out of the rain, and writes notes in his box by the light of a flashlight suspended from the box’s ceiling, make the life of a box man seem downright tranquil and desirable. Of course, being a homeless person living in a cardboard box in real life would not give any of the tranquility depicted in The Box Man, but Abe taps into the desire to get away from the stresses of modern life and makes the depiction effective. The unnamed box man protagonist (not that anyone in this book has a name) is the narrator of this work, and, as previously mentioned, he starts out writing of his life in a rather whimsical tone, giving instructions on how to make a box man box of your very own, depicting the creation of a box man, and more. This same whimsical tone reappears at times during The Box Man, such as in the story where a father pretends to be a horse, which provides the historical roots of the box man phenomenon. However, a far more surreal tone and a substantially darker tone manifest throughout the course of the work as well. The surreal tone most strongly comes to the fore when the text reaffirms that this work takes the form of notes authored by the box man, and draws into question whether the events he’s depicting actually occur in the universe of the book or if he’s just making it up. As the book gets further along, the darker narration takes the form of hallucinations of death, and the very ending of the book has a passage that seems ripped from a horror movie. These changes in tone are perfectly understandable given that the narrator is not mentally stable, but that doesn’t stop me from preferring the lighter, more fun opening tone to the other angles the narration explores.And that’s ultimately what keeps me liking The Box Man but not loving it, as it’s at times exactly the type of thing I like, and at other times something very different. It’s entirely unique, even up to the news articles and editorial asides peppered throughout the book, but it’s only unique in ways that I enjoyed about half the time. The writing is good, with some striking visuals, the ideas are fresh and presented interestingly, and overall I enjoyed it very much. Personal preference keeps this a 4/5 for me, though, but I encourage you to give it a read in case you like it even better than I did.

  • Manik Sukoco
    2019-04-05 06:28

    It is an odd tale, and thus far the worst of Abe's books that I’ve read. It’s not that this is in any way a bad book, (although incoherent at times) but the characters are lifeless and the narrative leaves one cold. Also, it is a bit of a disappointing follow up to his great novel The Woman in the Dunes, which happens to be one of the best books I’ve ever read by any writer.Translated by E. Dale Saunders, The Box Man lacks some of the lyrical highs present in some other Abe books, and the story is, for lack of a better word, odd. It tells the tale of a man who has created a box for his head. He has cut eye holes out of it, and he wears the box around everywhere, ruminating about those around him. There is even a point where he masturbates inside the box. Let us hope he wiped it down afterwards before putting it back on. The man wanders the streets of Tokyo and meets a woman who seduces him, as well as a doctor who wishes to become a box man himself. The narrative is strange as well, for there are photos included within, as well as upside down text and different cases involving different individuals referred to by only letters. The letters are characters who don’t read very compellingly, and nor are they as memorable as those present from some of Abe's other books.The Box Man is not a particularly fun read, and it’s not very insightful — at least when comparing it to the other two works of his I’ve read. It is a comparatively minor work. Yes, themes like identity, anonymity, and one’s existential place within the world are brought up, but such questions are better posed both in The Woman in the Dunes and also The Face of Another. I think The Box Man is a bit of a rehash of some of his better material, and certainly not the book of Abe’s I recommend for anyone new to his work. It is odd because the back of the book describes the work as: “a marvel of sheer originality and a bizarrely fascinating fable about the nature of identity itself.” While I will agree that the fable is bizarre and it does deal with the nature of identity, again, oddness does not necessarily equal originality because many of these themes are better handled in the other two titles I’ve mentioned.The Box Man actually does read more like an experimental work, though not necessarily in the best sense. It also happens to be the shortest of his books I’ve read, but clocking in at 178 pages, it feels like the longest.

  • umberto
    2019-04-14 04:18

    2.5 starsCompared to his "The Woman in the Dunes" (Penguin, 2006), this novel was simply a bit disappointing due to my tedious reading on and on and I could not find any reason why the weird man prefers being naked and being in a box. ...To continue ...