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Kobo Abe

  • About this Author
author spotlight

Kobo Abe was born in Tokyo in 1924 and grew up in Mukden, Manchuria, during World War II. In 1948 he received a medical degree from Tokyo Imperial University, but he never practiced medicine. Considered one of Japan’s foremost novelists, his most famous works include The Face of Another (1964), The Box Man (1973), Secret Rendezvous (1977), and The Ark Sakura (1984). All of Abe’s books have been bestsellers in Japan and he was the recipient of numerous literary awards and prizes, including the Yomiuri Prize for The Woman in the Dunes in 1962. He collaborated with director Hiroshi Teshigahara on film adaptations of four of his novels—including The Woman in the Dunes—and was also widely known as a dramatist. He died in 1993.

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Exam Copy
The Ark Sakura

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: February 10, 2009
Price: $16.95

A classic from the renowned Japanese novelist about isolation and the threat of a nuclear holocaust, The Ark Sakura is as timely today as it was at its original publication.

In this Kafkaesque allegorical fantasy, Mole has converted a huge underground quarry into an “ark” capable of surviving the coming nuclear holocaust... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Box Man
A Novel
Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: July 10, 2001
Price: $15.00


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... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

The Box Man
A Novel
Written by Kobo Abe


Format: eBook, 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 14, 2011
Price: $11.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
The Face of Another

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: February 4, 2003
Price: $15.95

Like an elegantly chilling postscript to The Metamorphosis, this classic of postwar Japanese literature describes a bizarre physical transformation that exposes the duplicities of an entire world. The narrator is a scientist hideously deformed in a laboratory accident—a man who has lost his face and, with it, his connection to other... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

The Face of Another

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: eBook, 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 14, 2011
Price: $11.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
Kangaroo Notebook
A Novel
Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: April 29, 1997
Price: $15.95

In the last novel written before his death in 1993, one of Japan's most distinguished novelists proffered a surreal vision of Japanese society that manages to be simultaneously fearful and jarringly funny. The narrator of Kangaroo Notebook wakes on morning to discover that his legs are growing radish sprouts, an ailment... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Ruined Map
A Novel
Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 4, 2001
Price: $16.95

Of all the great Japanese novelists, Kobe Abe was indubitably the most versatile. With The Ruined Map, he crafted a mesmerizing literary crime novel that combines the narrative suspense of Chandler with the psychological depth of Dostoevsky.

Mr. Nemuro, a respected salesman, disappeared over half a year ago, but only now does... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

The Ruined Map
A Novel
Written by Kobo Abe


Format: eBook, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 14, 2011
Price: $13.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
Secret Rendezvous

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: July 9, 2002
Price: $14.95

From the acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes comes Secret Rendezvous, the bizarrely erotic and comic adventures of a man searching for his missing wife in a mysteriously vast underground hospital.
From the moment that an ambulance appears in the middle of the night to take his wife, who protests that... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Woman in the Dunes

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: April 16, 1991
Price: $15.00

One of the premier Japanese novels of the 20th century, The Woman in the Dunes combines the essence of myth, suspense, and the existential novel. In a remote seaside village, Niki Jumpei, a teacher and amateur entomologist, is held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

The Woman in the Dunes

Written by Kobo Abe


Format: eBook, 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 14, 2011
Price: $11.99

Read more >
Also available as a trade paperback.
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