And writers of the existential school tend to focus on a particular individual facing the very human dilemma of living in a world freuently absurd and alienating a world where two men wait for Godot or a teacher walks the streets of a French town with a sense of nausea So keeping within the spirit of existentialism I will refrain from generalizations and zero in on specific passages of K b Abe s 1974 one of a kind novel This is the record of a box man I am beginning this account in a box A cardboard box that reaches ust to my hips when I put it on over my head The narrator of the tale is a writer who sheds his past identity to become a box man I agree completely with Jerome Charyn s statement from his 1974 New York Times review The action of the novel seems to take place inside the box which has become a kind of labyrinth for the box man a porous breathing skin The most important reason to use the standardized form is that it is hard to distinguish one box from another Here the box man shares a key concept for others who might consider becoming box men if you want to shed individual identity go all the way become a box man who cannot in any way be distinguished from other box man become as indistinguishable as humanly possible He goes on to provide advice on the ways one can deal with useful objects within one s box thermos flashlight towel pens change of clothing To construct your box there is no particular procedure to follow The greatest care must be taken when making the observation window Last of all cut the remaining wire into one two four and six inch lengths bending back both ends and prepare them as hooks for hanging things on the wall Indeed the most important aspect in being a box man is viewing the world through your slit in your box Curiously the box man sounds as if he has developed his own distinctively creative way to become a voyeur so imaginative that he views himself viewing through his slit as much as the people and objects of his gaze I recall Ernesto Sabato saying hell is being looked at So for the box man he can create hell for others via his own gaze while not becoming the subject of the gaze of others As soon as anyone gets into this simple unprepossessing paper cubicle and goes out into the streets he turns into an apparition that is neither man nor box A box man possesses some offensive poison about him I can imagine the reaction of others in the city to the box man Back in the 70s I recall a college student who wore a black cloak over his body down to his shoes and called himself The Black Bag He said after a few days the other students on campus got used to him Actually I thought this fellow was rather cool He sueezed the trigger The barrel of the gun and then the box made a noise like that of a wet trouser cuff snapped by an umbrella handle The lead bullet must have bored into the fellow s body with great force But neither the screams nor the eers he had anticipated were forthcoming Ah The box man reports a number of case studies including how one box man was attacked by a gunman Not everybody in society will remain passive when confronted by a box man The rebounding bullet flying about inside his cranium would doubtless set his brain functions askew After observing the neighborhood for a while he drew the curtains over the windows and gingerly crawled into the box The place seemed very homelike He wanted to stay like that forever but in less than a minute he came to his senses and crawled out So the gunman tries out the box for himself Sorry it might appear like an appealing way of life conceptually or for the first five minutes but as he soon discovers not everyone is cut out to be a real live box man I want to spy on all sorts of places and the box is a portable hole that occurred to me under the circumstances it being impossible to punch holes throughout the world Now that s worth chewing on The ordinary way of moving around in the world you are part of the outside thus nothing like looking through a slit in a box No uestion the only way to gain first hand experience of the box man is to do it yourself The reason men somehow go on living enduring the gaze of others is that they bargain on the hallucinations and inexactitude of human eyes Very true Could you take being seen as you truly are with all your foibles and uirks If it wasn t for others misperceptions we might be running for our boxes Or. Asperato realismo situazioni persone e oggetti sono colti a tratti come attraverso una lente d'ingrandimento che dilata a dismisura le proporzioni delle cose senza alcun ordine gerarchico Con uesto tipo di bizzarra scrittura non lontana dalle lezioni di Kafka Kobo Abe costruisce una storia insieme buffonesca e drammatica che va ben al di là della semplice satira di un'alienante società contemporanea per giungere a una profonda meditazione sulla natura dell'uom.
Veryone You could read this book a thousand times and still not unravel the mystery I of course have my own opinion but the beauty of this book is that you ust can t stop trying to figure things out I definitely recommend a read I can t guarantee you ll enjoy it but I can guarantee that you ll be either completely befuddled or completely obsessed And befuddled There is no denying the allure of the cardboard box as a protective carapace Children know this inherently It s why they are always building forts out of boxes When I was a kid my dad repurposed the same cardboard box several years in a row to make Halloween costumes for me and my siblings I was a robot one year and a turtle the next Before that my sister had been a dog All using the same box The box fit snug over my body hanging down to my hips much like that of the box man in this book It felt safe and comfortable in the box despite the severe reduction in peripheral vision it causedThis novel is a mystery of sorts Part of the mystery is how many box men there really are Or rather how many authentic box men For there is at least one false box man He wears a box that is identical to the real box man and it s set up in a nearly identical manner But why pose as a box man particularly when box men are considered to be the detritus of society Perhaps to win over the affection of a certain nurse And yet the nurse wants the real box man to ditch his box and is even willing to pay him to do it So her attitude towards boxes as coverings for men remains in uestion Another part of the mystery is how does one identify a true box man What constitutes authenticity in this case At times the real box man interprets the false box man as simply another version of himself Both the false box man coincidentally or not also a false doctor and the nurse may not truly exist The box man is recording his story the book is a collection of personal notes on his life as a box man He appears to suffer from an identity crisis perhaps brought on by his life inside the box He is reluctant to leave the box though at one time he lived a normal unboxed life working as a photographer This is significant his being a former photographer for the best photographer is invisible The box man is obsessed with appearances and with looking He does not want to be looked at but he wants to be able to look at others Hence the box Later in the book we find out about the false doctor and false box man through his written affidavit which also sheds light on certain previously related events We are also presented through case reports with further insights into what may have made the box man who he is today eg what ultimately drove him into the box But none of this coheres into a stable narrativeThe book includes photographs of at best peripheral relevance accompanied by cryptic captions which enhance the mysterious nature of the text For despite the attempts at organization in the form of case reports and affidavits what the text engenders most effectively is perpetual disruptions in perception through disorientation As we draw near to an understanding the ground shifts and again we are stumbling in confusion Much like it feels to wander around as I once did so many Halloweens ago with a box covering the upper part of one s body From the human chrysalis that is the box manEven I know notWhat kind of living being will issue forth A Strange Dry Inhuman Book Just the Kind of Thing I LikeNote these are brief notes If you re intrigued by this book I have a longer essay with information about the very rare catalog of Abe s own street photography here writingwithimagescom4 6 kobo abe thBox men are homeless men who walk around inside cardboard boxes The boxes are fitted out with viewing portholes little shelves hooks and supplies Several things make this book odd as well as bitter misogynistic and misanthropicThe descriptions of the box are so vivid so precise and unexpected that it seems they could only be the result of actually building such a box and living in Are you up for some weird fiction I mean REALLY weird fiction Reading this K b Abe novel I had the feeling I was floating six feet off the ground reader as artist of the floating world If you are up for existentialism of the oddball variety The Box Man may count among your all time favorite novels The core of existentialism is the opposite of abstract theory rather artists. Duzione gioca però un ruolo importante L'uomo scatola dal suo finestrino osserva smaschera finzioni e messe in scena vede al di là delle apparenze la realtà e ne viene coinvolto a un punto tale da rischiare la perdita della propria identità Ma uale identità Esiste veramente un uomo scatola Ignorato da tutti fa ancora parte degli esseri umaniUn clima decisamente surreale domina tutto il romanzo e nel contempo in modo paradossale riesce a coniugarsi con un es.
A surreal tale about a fragile identity and a place of the individual in this uncertain world We are ready to believe the narrator but before long we are asking who is he and how much can we believe of what he tellsWas it a real experiment or mystification fantasies of a troubled mind or La photographie au reflex numrique pour les Nuls, grand format, 6e dition just a dream There can be numerous interpretations Promising as its weirdness may have seemed to me sadly I failed to connect Having read and loved The Woman in the Dunes I like to believe that there was a certain philosophical depth to The Box Man but it clearly evaded me Other than a few spot on existential gimmicks it was mostly a drag for me since I had lost interest rather early in the book whi The Box Man was cancelled by the Atikokan Public Library after men began disappearing and reappearing with boxes over their heads probably in the young adult section One less person to read a newspaper on a stick in 1982 was no big thing but in 1987 two people checked out and then checked out Cancelled is stamped on the title page Cancelled again on the next and the next page This is possibly Abe s craziest book which is really saying something Not necessarily best as bookSecret Rendezvous 10004 is crazy AND highly coherent but the ways in which this is flirts with incoherency are extremely interesting It s got the odd broken time frame diary format of Rendezvous but in actually a ambiguous and complex manner while the actual story has been stripped back to what first seems sheer bizarre simplicity but then becomes an echo chamber of variations There are a few cogent plot organizations if yo A mystery filled riff on the nature of identity the significance of the gaze the nature of looking and being looked upon and how this defines who we areThe story is told primarily in the first person but we never know exactly who is doing the telling Is it the box man a man who no surprise lives in a box he has strapped on over his body so he cannot be seen the fake box man a doctor who tries on a box for himself and is a wannabe box man or someone else perhaps Kobo Abe who is obsessively scribbling this story on the inside of his own boxThere is a murder or a suicide or an assisted suicide but we re never sure who the victim is or exactly what goes downThere is a menage trois between the box man the fake box man and a seductive nurse who allows these men to gaze upon her in various states of undressThere are uestions about what it means to be looked upon How does it define who we are If you re hidden in a box and nobody looks at you what are you Like the proverbial falling tree in the forest if you re not seen do you exist Or does the box become a kind of coffin In seeing there is love in being seen there is abhorrence One grins trying to bear the pain of being seen But notust anyone can be someone who only looks If the one who is looked at looks back then the person who was looking becomes the one who is looked at So this book is weird and I have to confess that I wasn t always exactly sure what was going onMainly the story reads like a ournal of a Box Man or basically someone who has decided to drop out of society in favor of wearing a cardboard box at all times However you can also tell that Abe has a background in science medicine because we are given detailed directions at the beginning regarding the construction of the box and specific details about survival methods as though we were reading a manual on How to be a Box Man The story can be viewed as an examination of the intentionally homeless existentialists or a comment on the nature of identity There s also a lot concerning the act of seeing and being seen Also sexual frustration or deviancy seems to have a correlation with choosing the boxThere isn t a very concrete plotline but we know that a box man is shot a by an air rifle and also offered 50000 yen to discard his box Tension is great between box men and the rest of society Later he has interactions with a fake box man and a woman who seems to be perpetually nude Overall I enjoyed the format and the issues the story examines An unconventional read This novel messes with your head ReallyAs far as Kobo goes I prefered Woman in the Dunes for pure entertainment but the Box Man goes into uncharted territory whereas Woman in the Dunes grasps at fairly traditional existentialism albeit from a uniue perspectiveWho is the Box Man Is he one Two Three Un uomo si infila in una scatola di cartone in cui ha praticato una fessura spioncino e se ne va in giro per la città guardando inosservato Che cosa vedrà mai da uesto rifugio che diventa la sua casa la sua conchiglia la sua nuova dimensione E ual è uesta nuova dimensione la libertà la solitudine la sicurezza L'esistenza innocua dell'uomo scatola è scombussolata dall'intervento di due personaggi che ordiscono intorno a lui un intrigo pericoloso in cui la se.
Kōbō Abe 安部 公房 Abe Kōbō pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe was a Japanese writer playwright photographer and inventor He was the son of a doctor and studied medicine at Tokyo University He never practised however giving it up to join a literary group that aimed to apply surrealist techniues to Marxist ideologyAbe has been often compared to Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal often