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Secret Rendezvous Paperback – July 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375726543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375726545
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gorgeously entertaining, provocative book." --Chicago Tribune

"A disconcertingly funny book . . . both original and edgily entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review

"Reads much as if it were the collaborative effort of Hieronymus Bosch, Franz Kafka, and Mel Brooks." --Chicago Sun-Times

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the very start of this short, but densely labyrinthine and surreally intense novel, you know that you're in strange territory. An ambulance comes unbidden in the middle of the night, spirits away a man's perfectly healthy wife, and he's left to begin a Kafkaesque search to find out what's become of her in a hospital whose nightmarish bureaucracy is concealing a bizarre and ominous program of sex research.

Abe has the rare talent of making even the most outlandish situations seem perfectly plausible and that's what lends *Secret Rendezvous* its riveting sense of psychological truth and subjective terror. Like a powerful myth, there's something more *real* than real about the protagonist's endlessly frustrating search, his alternating states of inexplicable omnipotence and paralyzing impotence, his longing to find his missing wife and his fear of doing so.

Like Robbe-Grillet, Abe is a master of moody erotic dread and the hint of horrors forever just out of view. Unlike Robbe-Grillet, Abe's storyline, though fractured, is not obsessively repetitive; though detailed, it's not frozen in time--events move forward towards a conclusion that, although ambiguous, nevertheless seems eerily inevitable.

Explicit, often shocking, never purely prurient, and, at times, even surprisingly funny, *Secret Rendezvous* is a disturbing and thought-provoking novel by a writer who strikes me as one of the most under-appreciated of the 20th century. His sexually-charged themes and dark insights into psychological dilemmas flatly without resolution make a point about the problematic nature of the human condition that is not easily assimilated to a culture that still believes in solutions...in fact, that still believes in the concept of `humanity' at all.

Perhaps, that makes Abe more relevant now than ever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By literary bug on February 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Surrealism exemplified some of the most famous works by Kobo Abe (1924-1993), earning him comparisons to Franz Kafka. Surrealism as a 20th-century literary and artistic movement attempted to express the workings of the subconscious.

His work Mikkai (Secret Rendezvous) is worth a read for its use of fantastic imagery and the incongruous juxtaposition of scientific data with bizarre nightmare-like scenarios. Secret Rendezvous is relevant in its description of the trappings of an increasingly technological society and its critique of a hospital system gone haywire. Each patient requires a secret agent to penetrate the bureaucratic system, and each person also appears to be under surveillance, mimicking the modern-day question, "Is Big Brother watching you?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Davis on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
Secret Rendezvous is a delightfully absurd and confounding novel. It opens with an unnamed man--all the characters in the book are nameless with the exception of one very minor character--going to an abandoned army target range where a person or creature known as "the horse" is training itself to run on four legs. The horse gives the man an assignment to conduct an investigation. The man assumes it is to investigate his own wife's disappearance. Instead, the subject of the investigation is the man himself. He is to listen to surveillance tapes the horse gives him and write a comprehensive report and analysis of his own activities over the past few days, beginning with the day his wife disappeared.

The man is a sales representative for a company making athletic shoes. One night he and his wife are awakened by the arrival of an ambulance. The medics say they have orders to take the wife to the hospital. Both she and her husband are too dumbfounded to resist, nor does it occur to the man that he should ride in the ambulance with her. He doesn't even know to which hospital they have taken her. The following morning, after questioning ambulance personnel, he finally arrives at the correct hospital and confirms with the night watchman that his wife was dropped off at the emergency entrance, but there is no record or trace of her from that point. Nor does anyone in the hospital seem to care that somewhere in the bowels of the hospital is a perfectly healthy woman, lost and confused, with no money or ID and wearing nothing but a skimpy nightgown.

The man eventually assumes the guise of a security staff member so he can explore the hospital on his own. He finds it is an immense labyrinth, more underground than above, with many wings long abandoned and buried.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sharkbrains on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a favorite- if you like Kafka's books and Cronenberg's (or Lynch's) movies, you'll love this book. If I had to pick a genre, I'd call this existential sci-fi horror; it reminds me of some of the underground/alt sci-fi/fantasy of the 70s, and the "eru-goro" (erotic-grotesque) comics of Mauro and others.

There's a lot of powerful grotesque sexual imagery (especially "body horror") and existentialism; even as the main character gets more and more drawn into the story, he becomes more and more detached. It's not a pleasant read, but it's totally engrossing.
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By Liquid Faith on June 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow...
I really don't know what to say. This is the 3rd Kobo Abe Book I've read. So far I've loved the others , but I was not prepared for what lies behind these pages. A very sexually charged Kafka like journey of a man looking for his wife in a hospital. The book gets lower and deeper into a surreal nightmare like a journey of voyeurism,strange surgeries, secret audio taping,oozing children,quilts made of human hair, and an ending that was completely completely surprising. Kobo Abe has become one of my favorite authors. I already purchased 4 more of his books. Note that Kobo Abe deals in the human condition,identity and transformation in most his works. At least so far, like Woman in the Dunes, Face of another, the character goes through a change,good or bad, through an extreme action or event. This book is the most confusing and ambiguous change for the main character simply called "The Man", than any of the previous books, and is the most fascinating at the same time. For me it was just a page turner. Every time I thought something was going to be one way, it would twist and become even more dark surreal and sexual. Much like the journey deep into the underground tunnels and decay that is in the book itself, it takes you there as well. But in my opinion it's one of the best books I've read in years and is my favorite so far this year without a doubt.If you are easily offended by really bizarre sexual situations, or don't like almost nightmare like surreal twists then I'd avoid this book. If you like just mind boggling strange and distorted stories that plunge you into an absolute freaky sex hospitalized mind trip .. you gotta read this.
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