THE FACE OF ANOTHER by Kobo Abe

THE FACE OF ANOTHER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Perhaps more people viewed rather than read Kobo Abe's The Woman in the Dunes (1964) and this sibling has very much the same character; it is just as enclosed, physically and psychically; just as intense, while using the most matter of fact detail--almost to the point of irritability. And like Tanizaki, there's a certain morbidity of material. These notebooks are the record kept by a laboratory scientist whose face, after an accident, is covered with suppurating "leech-like" scars. It not only alienates him, it isolates him. "A monster's face brings loneliness and the loneliness informs his heart." After consulting K, who constructs artificial organs, he decides to model a mask; spends considerable time in investigations, calculations, and finally the choice of a type (aggressive extroverted) for which he will need a consonant personality. There follows an inevitable duality--his mask is almost another identity ("I casually accompanied the mask out...") and after a renewal of his erotic inclinations, he approaches his wife, realizes he is cuckolding himself. Or is he? Abe's symbolic pantomime is not extroverted; in fact it is very ingrown; but it toys with images and ideas in a fascinating fashion, even while at the expense of both the reader's patience and sensibility.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1966
ISBN: 0375726535
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1966




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