The Ruined Map Author:Kobo Abe Told in the form-- and with the suspense-- of a mystery story, "The Ruined Map" is a melodrama of the mind, its thriller-like excitement allied to a profound mythic quality that has placed Kobo Abe in the forefront of the world's avant-garde novelists. — In "The Woman in the Dunes", Abe's hero was the hunted-- a man who fled society. In his new n... more »ovel,the central character is the hunter--a detective searching for a missing person in the vast desert of the modern city. The pursuit-- violent and nightmarish-- leads deeper and deeper into the underworld of Tokyo, through shady commercial enterprises to back-alley nude shows, gangs of outlaw "gypsy" cab drivers, hoodlums preying on junkies and homosexuals, businessmen whose business is corruption and death.
As the hunt quickens,the professional disciplines that bind the detective to the real world paradoxically demand that he "become" the man he seeks. He has no choice but to think, act, even feel as he imagines his quarry must. Gradually, inevitably, he finds his own identity, his own personality, his own map of his once familiar world and self blurring with that of the lost man.
With that passion for the concrete traditional to Japanese letters and strongly characteristic of his own writing, Abe brilliantly dramatizes the ambiguity and flux of individual identity in the rushing, directionless, close-packed crowds of contemporary life.
Translated from the Japanese by E. Dale Saunders.« less