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Secret Rendezvous

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,029 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes comes Secret Rendezvous, the bizarrely erotic and comic adventures of a man searching for his missing wife in a mysteriously vast underground hospital.

From the moment that an ambulance appears in the middle of the night to take his wife, who protests that she is perfectly healthy, her bewildered husband realizes that things a
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 9th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1977)
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Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Un camino de serpientes sólo te lleva a más serpientes."

Leer a Kobo Abe es muy gratificante para mí. Tuve la suerte de saber de él en una revista literaria y me atrajo en forma inmediata. La reseña de su libro “Los cuentos siniestros”, que poseo, leí y disfruté con avidez, lo calificaba, por la técnica de su narrativa como el “Kafka japonés”. Era evidente que me iba atraer su literatura y así fue. No me defraudó. Recomiendo fuertemente este libro de cuentos, del que pueden leer mi reseña aquí e
بداية الرواية غريبة تشد الانتباه وبالتدريج تتحول إلى حالة من العبث والتوهان بين شخصيات غريبة الأشكال والأطوار
عربة إسعاف لم يستدعها أحد تأخذ زوجة بطل الرواية التي لا تشكو من أي مرض للمستشفى
لتبدأ المتاهة التي يدور فيها الزوج للبحث عن زوجته واكتشاف ما يحدث داخل المستشفى
الرواية نُشرت عام 1977, فانتازيا أحداثها منفرة تدور في مستشفى للأبحاث والتجارب الجنسية
يعرض فيها كوبو آبي صورة متشائمة – أو واقعية- لضياع بطل الرواية وهو يحاول فعل ما يراه صحيحا
لم أتفق مع الجملة الأولى في مقدمة المترجم "هذا كتاب للدهش
Nate D
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: doctors make the best patients, patients make the best doctors
Recommended to Nate D by: black ambulances arriving in the dead of night
The back blurb describes this as satire. I sincerely hope that nothing in the Japanese medical system can actually be appropriately satirized in this form, because this book is horrifying. Secret Rendezvous is an unending psychosexual medical nightmare. It certainly possesses its absurdity, but it's that grinning death-mask absurdity that you don't want to meet on a dark night. The images, the deranged philosophizing, the very idea of getting trapped in such an endless hospitalized underworld. I ...more
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
How could I not like this? Kafka check. Beckett check. Burroughs check. And that easy going Japanese narrator later associated with Murakami... check. Oh, and of course being himself check too.

I generally don't love books with huge libidos. All the masturbating and measuring of penises might've turned me off in another book. What can I say? I'm modest, maybe repressed, who knows? But this book seemed not to be so much about sex as the defamiliarization of sex in a modern bureaucratized, science-
Geoffrey Waring
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
As bizarre a book as I can imagine, but somewhere in the middle I started to find it gripping. When they call stories dreamlike, people are usually referring to bizarre imagery or an ethereal atmosphere; Secret Rendezvous is dreamlike in a more literal sense, as it requires you to surrender logic to its own universe of signs and impressions. This can be hard to do. In the end, rather than a satire of the medical system (which is what the book's cover advertised), it seems to rather be a nightmar ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It warrants all of the "Kafka-esque" descriptions it gets. Unlike Kafka's characters, who never grasp the machinations of their world, the nameless main character of this book, at times, gets hip to the absurdity. As he does, however, he becomes deeper entrenched in the labyrinth sex research hospital, until his initial goals of finding his wife and returning home to normalcy become completely lost. The ending is still confusing me. It's lucidly rendered and absolutely disturbing.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is often compared with The Trial by Kafka, and like that book, I'd say that this one is strange, messy, and brilliant, weaving a tapestry of complex and sometimes perplexing themes around a simple enough premise - a man navigating a labyrinthine hospital in search of his wife who was taken there by two EMTs in the middle of the night. There's a noir vibe to the investigative aspect, and the book definitely shares some DNA with Cronenberg's Videodrome with its body horror element and pr ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think this is one of the better Abe books that I've read, but I still prefer Woman in the Dunes and Kangaroo Notebook. Maybe even The Box Man. It hangs together better than some, but I'm not necessarily as interested in where it goes. Better than some, worse than others. Or, maybe it just didn't strike me as much.
Jakub Szestowicki
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chore gunwo ❤ ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un homme part à la recherche de son épouse, qui a disparu dans des circonstances rocambolesques mais surtout mystérieuses, emportée par des ambulanciers en pleine nuit. Avec comme prétexte l'inlassable recherche de sa femme, l'auteur nous emmène petit à petit dans un univers complexe, dans lequel la comédie, le suspense, le fantastique, voire l'horreur s'entremêlent. Certains personnages comme l'homme cheval ou la petite fille aux os liquides me suggèrent que l'auteur se penche sur les tares et ...more
أول قراءة لي لكاتب ياباني .. صراحة لا أعرف ما هو سبب عدم استيعابي للروية أكان أسلوب الترجمة و السرد أم أن النوع من هذه الروايات لا يروقني لأني لم أقرأ رواية بمثل هذا الأسلوب .. لا أحداث تذكر مجرد تسلسل لحدث واحد ونهاية مبهمة .. تأتي سيارة إسعاف بدون موعد مسبق وتأخذ زوجته وتختفي الزوجة في ظروف غامضة تدفع الزوج للبحث عن زوجته . يدخلنا الكاتب في متاهات داخل المستشفى وأشياء وتجارب غريبة يقوم بها العاملين هناك .. كانت البداية مربكة نوعاً ما ولكن النهاية أشد إرباكاً . أسلوب يعتمد على الغموض والألغاز و ...more
Tarafa Shuraiki
بداية وبعيداً عن رأيي الخاص بالرواية فإنني لا أنصح بقراءة الطبعة التي بين يدي، إذ أنها طبعت بأحرف صغيرة الحجم ليكون عدد الصفحات 180 لذلك أنصح بقراءة نسخة المؤسسة العربية للدراسات والنشر حيث يبلغ عدد الصفحات 290 وبالتالي ستكون القراءة أكثر راحة.
يقول المترجم في مقدمة الرواية أن "هذا كتاب للدهشة" وأعتقد أن الأمر مبالغ فيه، الكتاب غريب ينقل القارئ إلى عالم سوريالي، ولاشك أن القارئ سينجذب للرواية في بعض مراحلها، لكني لا أحبذ هذه العوالم الغريبة. وأياً كانت الفكرة الأساسية للنص فإنها لم تصلني، قد يتعل
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This absolutely has to be the strangest novel I have ever read. How on earth Abe generated these ideas and had the gall to put them down on paper is beyond me. We have a shoe salesman searching for his missing wife in a labyrinth of hospital, a horse-man with two penises, a woman who turns into a quilt, an adolescent nymphomaniac whose bones are melting, and it's all wrapped up with a chilling denouement. I'm pretty flabbergasted at the moment.
Tom Buchanan
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked parts of this. The parodies of hospitalization and medical fear were compelling, funny, scary. But it falls back on this trope of using women's bodies and sexuality as a device for body horror in a very problematic and brain-dead way. Basically the Harlan Ellison problem. So fuck that, but I would still be up for reading the Ruined Map or Box Man, I think.
Chris M
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like if Kafka wrote a sex comedy. This book is perverted and tense, but made me laugh. I don’t get it. The book is filled with erections, admiration of women’s legs and armpits, people dying of surreal diseases, and a half-horse man. My complaint: it is a bit too plotless at times, and amidst all the strangeness it can get bogged down in describing a wall or desk. But I really enjoyed it because I enjoy weird things.
Razan Yousef
Sep 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
بفهم شو يعني أدب سريالي، بس هاد الكتاب كان غرائبي و مش مفهوم بالمرة.
البداية كانت مشوقة بعدين بلشت الامور تدخل ببعضها بشكل مقيت و ممل.
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yum
i read this because the theater company i was working with was adapting it for a show. i'd never heard of Kobo Abe, but we all read a number of his works in preperation for this piece and i'm really glad i was introduced to his work. i haven't read Woman in the Dunes which is his most famous, but i have to say i was really drawn into Secret Rendezvous. it's incredibly bizarre and i always wonder with the Weirdness of east asain art - and Japanese art and culture in specific - how much of my imco ...more
Gertrude & Victoria
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-library
I found this work to be even stranger than his Kangaroo Notebook. With Kangaroo Notebook, the reader can easily distinguish the hellish underworld from the realness of the world above, at least to a sufficient degree. On the other hand, Secret Rendezvous merges the real with fantastical and farcical elements in such a way that leaves the reader perplexed. The former is fully bathed in absurdity, while the latter is only wet up to the waist.

The first scene begins with a bizarre occurrence, when a
Sanabel Atya

مممم غريبة! أول مرة أقرأ هكذا نوع.. خيال غريب غريب.
الرواية الثانية التي أقرأ ل كابو،،بعد "امرأة في الرمال" ويبدو أنه يكتب روايات تدور في موقع واحد.
أعجبتني امرأة في الرمال أكثر. كلتا الروايتين خيال غريب.
كيف له -كابو- أن يُفكر بهكذا خيال؟ غريب هالرجل !

لم أستطع أن افهم ما يُريد كابو إيصاله في هذه الرواية، أيريدُ -مثلاً- أن يقول: كم الإنسان البشري ضائع هائم على وجهه لا يرى حقيقة نفسه ولا حقيقة العالم حوله، مصيره خواء ؟! ربما.. لِمَ لا؟!
أظنّ أنه يملك نظرة تشاؤمية إلى حد ما.

تبدو حاسة السمع،إ
Aug 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: plumbers of creepy subconcious desires
Shelves: fiction
Here the Hospital is the cite of Abe's existential mayhem--nary a chapter goes by where someone isn't watching someone else do it with themselves, an animal, or one or more other human beings. That this is a novel about sex and sexual deviancy and that takes place (increasingly hellishly) within the power structure of a hospital tremendously foregrounds the repercussions of treating desire as a strictly physical phenomena that must be treated systematically. Anyway, while one senses that a lot o ...more
عبد الحميد بوحسين
لن أكتب بطريقة متماسكة عن هذا العمل العظيم ،سأترك فقط بضع جمل كتبتها منذ زمن طويل بعد انتهائي من قراءة فاتنة
رجل يكتب عن مراحل بحثه غن زوجته،التي اختفت مع سيارة اسعاف لم يطلبها أحد
الحصان رجل مزود بنصف جسد سفلي لحصان،أصيب بالعنة لسنواتحتى استفاد من النصف السفلي النشيط لمدير الأمن
سكرتيرته المرأةالغريبة السادية
مدير الأمن شخص منهمك في التجسس على كل انحاء المستشفى،سيقتله 5 اشخاص بعثتهم السكرتيرة،انتقاما منه لأنه اغتصبها
فتاة في 13 مقارة جنسيا،و مصابة بمرض ذوبان العظام..تنكمش في نهاية الرواية (أمها الم
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I think it is a wonderful concept and a great effort but really taps into some deep surreal themes very matter-of-factly which creates more confusion than closure. We're lead on a wild goose chase looking for a man's missing wife in a hospital whose director is a man who is also a horse - during his search the husband becomes head of security. There are many erect penises, sexual experiments and an orgasm contest for entertainment but the back of the book review says it is a mix of Hironymous Bo ...more
Bianca S.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Intrigued by the cover--I grabbed this book right up and off of a dusty shelf in a used book store. On a whim, I do things like this sometimes. I didn't even read a darned page in the thing, I was just intrigued by the cover. I shoved my ten dollar bill towards the teller and on my way I went. I don't know why I did it but I'm glad I did. This one kept me company on many a long train rides to and from my home and my homehome for a short while and is probably one of my favourite novels and a damn ...more
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
5/5 stars for writing, but 3/5 stars for abundance of sexual deviance (a theme I generally find pretty boring, with no exception here). Looking beyond the sexual themes, I really enjoyed this book and found the pacing swift and engrossing. As a thriller, there is an excellent execution of information being revealed that then opens up new mysteries. I trusted that all would be known, in time, and went along for the ride. This is my first time reading Abe, and I will definitely read him again, hop ...more
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
After falling in love with the Abe/Teshigahara film collaborations I was very eager to read some Abe. I think this was the wrong book with which to start. Disappointing to say the least. The only truly interesting construct, the tape-listening room, was sorely underused. Kafka/Brecht-isms aside, I found the book so vague and ungrounded, the protagonist a blank slate with seemingly nothing truly at stake, and the most boring sex torture/liberation hospital(!)imaginable. . Perhaps I missed the gra ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The story sounds straightforward enough - missing wife, husband following clues to find her. However being a Kobo Abe book it was never going to be that simple. The narrative swaps from 1st to 3rd person and back again, everyone is holding something back and the story keeps jumping forward and back. Most of the characters are extremely odd, complex and interesting. The story is very gripping and weird.
Adam P
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
His best book in my opinion. Very funny and scary...
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the first book of Mr. Abe that I've ever read and it never failed to expose the unique weirdness of the story's concepts. In a simple yet seemingly bland narrative and potent frankness on medical practices, the story's absurdity, for me can both symbolize and criticize anything in reality.

In a symbolic way, you can interpret the labyrinthine hospital as a future world, a world where somebody supplies and shares someone of sensual affection. The man portrayed on the story was initially
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm really not sure what to say or think about this..
On the back of the book there was a review calling it "edgy" .. I suppose you could call it that

So this book was surprisingly sexual in a scary and freaky way.
It includes some slight homophobia and sexism, and uncomfortably sexual activities between a 13 year old girl and old middle aged men... I would say it's worthy of a trigger warning..

When first encountering beforementioned homophobia and sexism, I tried to not judge the book too hard
Chris Cangiano
Abe was Japan's answer to Kafka. His novels often focus on the mutability of identity and the existential absurdity of modern life. In Secret Rendezvous he turns his aim towards the modern medical profession. Doctors and patients are caught in an absurd, masochistic, mutually parasitical relationship. No one is cured, though whether anyone is really is sick in the classic sense is also questionable. Our narrator's wife is carted off by an uncalled ambulance (neither of them is rude or assertive ...more
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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 techniques to Marxist ideology.

Abe has been often compared to Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal, often n
“Nothing is so awkward as a demonstration of humanity by the enemy.” 16 likes
“One measure of a civilization, in fact, is the percentage of misfits in its society.” 3 likes
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