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Book Club > Secret Rendezvous, by Kōbō Abe

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message 1: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 230 comments This really surprised me! I work in an hospital and I can assure you it's not at all like that hahahaha! I honestly am not sure if I liked it or not, but it's certainly something different ;P

Did you guys enjoy it?


message 2: by rows (last edited Oct 16, 2016 09:50PM) (new)

rows (rosesco) | 7 comments Beat me to it! But if it were like that, Christian, would you admit it? Suspicious!

Ha, er, "enjoy" isn't the word I'd use. I appreciated it. It was often wearying & dread-making, but clearly not from any bumbling on Abe's part. Turning certain pages (you probably know the ones) felt like I was repeatedly punching myself in the stomach, knowing what was coming & through whose view it'd arrive, but continuing anyway. It was definitely worth each part once I could close it & think of it as a complete thing, not just in pieces. The wearying bits do strengthen these themes, as these things go, finally. (Finally!) Also, that body horror? Somebody give Cronenberg this book pronto.

(view spoiler)


message 3: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 230 comments Wow Rose! I didn't even try to interpret it to be honest ^^; I can be kind of thickheaded sometimes hehe. So did you find some kind of message/point in the story?

I thought he was mostly just playing with us, the readers... It's like he's denying us any kind of assumption about the scenes: there's always something unexpected, we can't get used to the degree of absurdity, because it keeps changing. Some scenes appear almost comical... like at the end where he realize that the girl is crushed under the secretary. Am I supposed to laugh? Or is it tragic? I guess that's the strong point about it: it's so "out there" that we can no longer judge what's happening.

Well either that or I really missed the point x_x


message 4: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 97 comments Just started on it so I'm not reading other comments because they prob have spoilers. I will say that right away it strikes me as uniquely weird that one of the characters thinks he is a horse and has to be humored.


message 5: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 230 comments You're on for quite a few surprises Joanne hehehehehe. Good idea not to read to much of the comments!


message 6: by rows (new)

rows (rosesco) | 7 comments Haha, yup, good luck, Joanne. Also, yes, the (tragic & pretty dark) absurdist humour was super appreciated. It tempered the other stuff.


message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 97 comments Rose wrote: "Haha, yup, good luck, Joanne. Also, yes, the (tragic & pretty dark) absurdist humour was super appreciated. It tempered the other stuff."Well, I'm about halfway through now. Next time, can we set up something with spoiler alerts or something up to certain points of reading? Anyway, up to the point I have read which is p. 60, I am finding this book very difficult to read. I have been having a hard time staying with it because of the way it just keeps on going around in circles. The thing that keeps me with it is the humor.. There are some short side stories that are just for fun and I like them. I think maybe someone who has a more off color sense of humor than I have, meaning a person who enjoys sexual jokes would enjoy it more. I am thinking when the plot progresses further I might start liking it more.


message 8: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 97 comments Joanne wrote: "Rose wrote: "Haha, yup, good luck, Joanne. Also, yes, the (tragic & pretty dark) absurdist humour was super appreciated. It tempered the other stuff."Well, I'm about halfway through now. Next time,..."Now I'm up to p. 88. As I said before, I am a slow reader and I like discussing a book as I go along instead of all at once. If anyone is willing to post something which is just at this point in the book, that would help me.

The man starts going through all the tapes in the hospital looking for his wife's voice. That's a terrible job. Here I find that the man has met the Assistant Director's secretary. She is an interesting character. She seems at first to be coming on to him, then she tells him the Assistant Director raped her. It seems this may be a clue that the man's wife may have been another victim of his. That secretary is strange though. Sometimes it still seems like she is coming on to him.

I was trying to look but I can't find out if they really rent clothing in Japan.


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 97 comments I have reached p.119 and gotten to the point where I do not want to complete the book. I agree with a few others in this conversation who say it is a burden to read. The absurdity of it lent itself to enough curiosity for me to continue up until this point. However, now the absurd content has become sexual and I just don't want to endure it. Some might find this type of content hilarious. I'm not one of them.


message 10: by rows (last edited Oct 24, 2016 04:51AM) (new)

rows (rosesco) | 7 comments Joanne wrote: "However, now the absurd content has become sexual and I just don't want to endure it. Some might find this type of content hilarious. I'm not one of them."

Fair enough! I was so close, more than once, to not finishing it either, probably for the same reasons. I hope those parts aren't meant to be hilarious, because those would be some awfully rapey jokes. I only found it helpful to read 'em as social commentary, or the opposite of their infantilizing vibe, with anything interesting seen as in negative relief, those bits in particular as anything other than just jokes purely for whatever shock. Of course, who knows their intent . . . It doesn't help that this was the only Abe I've read. If anyone's read more, feel free to jump in here.


message 11: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 97 comments Rose wrote: "Joanne wrote: "However, now the absurd content has become sexual and I just don't want to endure it. Some might find this type of content hilarious. I'm not one of them."

Fair enough! I was so clo..."
Thanks for that commentary Rose. Maybe since I am home sick I will try a few pages. My cat is in my lap and insists that I don't move. The book is short. Maybe just 10 pages at a time...


message 12: by rows (last edited Oct 24, 2016 04:54AM) (new)

rows (rosesco) | 7 comments @Joanne
Heh, well, that wasn't meant to be a pep talk, nor do I think SR would be worth more finished for everyone. The sex stuff you mentioned stays bleak. In fact, sometimes I only kept reading to leave off on a better part. I just meant I totally understand anyone not wanting to finish it. (Hope you feel better!)


Dioni (Bookie Mee) (dioni) | 154 comments Rose wrote: "It doesn't help that this was the only Abe I've read. If anyone's read more, feel free to jump in here."

I've read The Woman in the Dunes before. I liked the idea and premise of the book a lot more than reading it. Reading it was a bit of a chore as I remember it (that was years ago), and I haven't tried Abe again. I haven't crossed him off, but I'm not sure when I'll try his book again (and which).


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