Vintage International

The Woman in the Dunes

Publisher: Vintage
The Woman in the Dunes, by celebrated writer and thinker Kobo Abe, combines the essence of myth, suspense and the existential novel.
After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seashore, an amateur entomologist is offered lodging for the night at the bottom of a vast sand pit. But when he attempts to leave the next morning, he quickly discovers that the locals have other plans. Held captive with seemingly no chance of escape, he is tasked with shoveling back the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten to destroy the village. His only companion is an odd young woman. Together their fates become intertwined as they work side by side at this Sisyphean task.


“Devious, addictive. . . . Never less than compulsive. . . . Abe is an accomplished stylist.”
—David Mitchell
“Abe follows with meticulous precision his hero's constantly shifting physical, emotional and psychological states.”
The New York Times Book Review
“As is true of Poe and Kafka . . . Abe creates on the page an unexpected impulsion. One continues reading, on and on.”
The New Yorker