Kōbō Abe: 密会 (Secret Rendezvous)

The latest addition to my website is Kōbō Abe‘s 密会 (Secret Rendezvous). Even by Abe’s standards this is a seriously weird book. A jump shoe salesman and his wife are woken up at 4 am. by an ambulance which has come to take the wife to hospital. They did not summon the ambulance and she is in good health. Nevertheless the ambulance takes her. At the hospital she goes to the waiting room to phone her husband and seemingly disappears. He arrives later and is led on a wild goose chase by a man called the horse (see cover illustration). The hospital is more than a hospital (a lot of sex is involved) and our narrator finds himself in a massive warren of abandoned rooms, corridors and so on both looking for his wife and helping a girl with osteolysis while coming across strange and decidedly unmedical activities, culminating in a longest orgasm competition. It is partially Kafkaesque and entirely weird.

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