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The Ruined Map: A Novel Paperback – December 4, 2001
When family friends become bitter enemies, the consequences are deadly. Learn More
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“A compelling tour-de-force.... A horror story of such magnitude that it stuns the mind.”–The New York Times Book Review
“An exciting, imaginative, and entertaining novel.”–San Francisco Chronicle
Original Language: Japanese
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, a man can only write a book like that once, when he is young. After The Woman In The Dunes, Abe became the most prominent avant-garde novelist in Japan. But from that point on, his books became increasingly uninspired and similar to one another. The Ruined Map (1967), The Box Man (1973), and The Ark Sakura (1984) have different storylines, but eventually it becomes obvious that, fundamentally, the three novels are exactly the same.
Every Abe novel after The Woman In The Dunes revolves around some kind of search. The main character is looking for something, or other people lead him to look for something. Abe rarely reveals why it's so important to find this thing, or even what it is. But Abe is a very vague author. His characters talk in oblique hints. It is almost never explained just what they're hinting at. If this irritates you, then you probably won't like Abe's books.
In his vague search, the main character runs into the same three people:
1. "The Helpless Femme Fatale"
This archetype is the main female character in an Abe book. She is usually described sympathetically, as being feminine and vulnerable. However, she also serves to draw the main character into some kind of crisis from which he cannot escape. Abe sometimes drops vague hints that she knows more than she lets on, but this matter is never adequately clarified.Read more ›
Abe's book is sort of an existential-noir/mystery-novel about a private investigator who is hired by a woman to find her missing husband. He has very few clues to go on and the novel shifts between his interior monologues - where he works out his theories and suspicions - and his interactions with various and sundry characters from Tokyo's underworld in search of clues. There were a few things I found frustrating about the novel but before I get to that I like to start with the positive.
I liked the tone of the novel. The novel is in first-person, the private investigator is the narrator, and he has a tone of darkly comic cynicism that I really enjoyed. He is very suspicious of everyone's motives, he seems to know his way around the underworld of Tokyo, and he seems to have some street smarts, although I was never entirely sure whether he was meant to be a competent detective or sort of a bumbler. Either way, I enjoyed his perspective on the world and on the strange events of the novel.
Abe is a good writer. There are some genuinely lyrical passages in the novel, he does a good job creating a dark and somewhat seedy atmosphere, and he gives the reader just enough - a few tantalizing clues - to keep them interested in the mystery.
There are a few things I found frustrating about the novel. First, the dialogue is often quite obscure.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It could be the translation, but I found this book to be very disappointing. I read the Box Man before this, which I greatly enjoyed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matteo O
I Enjoyed thoroughly this remarkable story.
The search for a missing person opens into a larger search and deeper to where people's lives may intrinsically be found or lost.
I've become a real enthusiast for Kobo Abe's work - and The Ruined Map stokes that enthusiasm. At face value, a detective novel, with much of it written in that staccato style so... Read morePublished on July 31, 2013 by Harry
I bought this novel in hopes of rekindling that passion I had for 'Woman in the Dunes,' but I was a little disappointed with 'The Ruined Map. Read morePublished on March 15, 2007 by Nicolas Rapier