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The Face of Another

   Mon, September 5, 2005 - 9:58 AM
“The Face of Another”

“ My mash itself –were it not for the scars underneath, spreading like webs- was comfortable enough. If covering our bodies with clothes represents a culture step forward, there is no guarantee that in the future masks will not be taken equally for granted. Even now they are often used in important ceremonies and festivals. I do not quite know how to put it, but I wonder if a mask, being universal, enhances our relations with others more than does the naked face”- these are lines from a fiction-literary book “The Face of Another” (1966) by Kobo Abe Japanese writer novelist. Kobo Abe is the son of a physician and graduated from medical school in Tokyo in 1948, but never practiced medicine. Writing in a variety of genres, including poetry, drama and fiction, he was noted for his surrealistic, Kafkaesque style: and was popular not only in Japan, but in the West. His novel “The Woman in the Dunes” was made into a critically and commercially successful film, shown at the Cannes festival in 1963.Nevertheless, I have enjoyed “The Face of Another” the most and here is a review of this book and short comment on the features.

Though the book doesn`t’belong to a classic novel genre, the plot of it is gripping and could, perhaps, become one of the “classics” in the future. The main character is a scientist who is disfigured in a laboratory accident makes himself a mask, and with it, assumes a new identity. He enters a world that he now sees to be a lonely alienating place, full of people wearing masks of one kind or another. This nihilistic tale, like much of Abe’s work, is influenced by Kafka`s dark vision and by the absurdities.

“The Face of Another” has got not just an intriguing title, but the novel itself is so marvellous that you would not put the book down. Usually main characters of some book are wonderful or attractive. The main character of this book is neither, but somehow the author, by putting into it all his inventiveness, manages to grasp the reader’s attention. Although, the book belongs to a sciential-fiction genre, there is a wide space for reality…' All in all, as it has been said earlier, everyone has masks and how it is possible to live your own life having a “face of another” –this is the question.

In conclusion, I could say that nowadays “faces of another” are quite popular. Some people pay huge sums for a plastic surgery operation, but they do not sometimes realize, that another look wouldn’t change their personality and it would make them live cheating not only on others but on themselves. The moral of this book, as from my point of view, is that everyone should cherish himself or herself the way they are and try to enjoy their own lives, unique lives, lives that are different from “another”.

1 Comment

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Sun, October 16, 2005 - 8:07 AM
The Face of Another
Thank you. I loved "Woman in the Dunes" and will now read "Face of Another".