The Ruined Map  
Kobo Abe    



A Private Investigator. An alluring, alcoholic young wife with nothing but a photograph and matchbox to commemorate her missing husband. A looming, monstrous city with miles of dark alleys lined with seedy, hopeless bars for every gleaming, prosperous skyscraper. It could be Raymond Chandler's LA, Elmore Leonard's Detroit, Mickey Spillane's New York City.

But in The Ruined Map, it's Kobo Abe's Tokyo, and its deeply weirder and more haunting than any of those literary metropolises. It's more like Paul Auster's City of Glass, but if you had unleashed upon it an evil imagination of the caliber of Franz Kafka or Paul Bowles.

In this issue of Bold Type, novelist Todd Shimoda, the author of 365 Views of Mt. Fuji and the forthcoming Fourth Treasure, probes the lasting meaning and influence of Kobo Abe's work 35 years after its first publication.

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  Photo credit: Joe Pineiro

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