The Face of Another by Kobo Abe
(Vintage International)

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Like an elegantly chilling postscript to The Metamorphosis, this classic of postwar Japanese literature describes a bizarre physical transformation that exposes the duplicities of an entire world. The narrator is a scientist hideously deformed in a laboratory accident–a man who has lost his face and, with it, his connection to other people. Even his wife is now repulsed by him.

His only entry back into the world is to create a mask so perfect as to be undetectable. But soon he finds that such a mask is more than a disguise: it is an alternate self–a self that is capable of anything. A remorseless meditation on nature, identity and the social contract, The Face of Another is an intellectual horror story of the highest order.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Kobo Abe

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Kobo Abe is the pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe, who was born in Tokyo, Japan on March 7 1924. He was brought up in Manchuria where he lived with his father, a doctor of the hosipital attached to the Imperial Medical Colledge of Manchuria. In elementary school, he was educated in the experimental way, in which a teacher trained children to debating and rapid reading. Abe went back to Tokyo and went to Sejo Koko High School, a famous private school. He was later admitted to the faculty of medicine of Tokyo University. In 1944, Abe heard that Japan would lose the war before long and he forged a medical certificate to get home to Manchuria. He earned his medical degree in 1948, but never practiced. After graduation he began his writing career and became a member of a literary group led by Kiyoteru Hamada. Often compared to Kafka , he treated the contemporary human predicament in a realistic yet symbolic style. In 1951 he got the Akutagawa Award by his first masterpiece, Kabe (The Walls). Among Abe's novels are Woman in the Dunes, published in 1962 and made into a film in 1964, and his best-known work, Secret Rendezvous. His plays include Friends, published in 1967. The first of his short stories to appear in English were collected in Beyond the Curve, 1944-66. Abe died in 1993.
Published December 14, 2011 by Vintage. 257 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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BC Books

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Abe creates a strong portrait of an isolated individual who is struggling with not only loneliness, but also his own rational musings.

Feb 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Face of Another (Vintage ...

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