Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop now Shop Now Shop now
The Ruined Map: A Novel (Vintage International) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £11.19
  • You Save: £0.39 (3%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
The Ruined Map (Vintage I... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by owlsmart_usa
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; may contain marginal notes and or highlighting
Trade in your item
Get a £2.27
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Ruined Map (Vintage International) Paperback – 1 Dec 2001

2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£20.34
Paperback
"Please retry"
£10.80
£5.01 £5.01
£10.80 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on Amazon.co.uk with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Ruined Map (Vintage International)
  • +
  • The Box Man (Vintage International)
  • +
  • The Woman in the Dunes (Penguin Classics)
Total price: £28.43
Buy the selected items together



Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Reprint edition (1 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375726527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375726521
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 790,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
1
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having just read 'The Woman in the Dunes', I speedily checked looked up Abe's other work. Although potentially a good premise: a private investigator searches for the husband of a strange woman, the novel disappointed me.

The characters had great promise - a strangely cold, slightly drunk and inactive woman as the wife, an investigator who feels no one is ever looking for him, a 'brother' of the wife who is shady in more ways than one, and a sad clerk who lies compulsively. However,they left me unsatisfied.

What I found mainly though is that although I wanted to uncover the story, I had no idea what was going on! Dialogue is often unmarked and starts out of nowhere, I had no idea where the characters were and how they got there and I had no idea what the main character was really doing. I am disappointed as 'The Woman in the Dunes' was so exciting because I was easily able to become enthralled. However, this is a hard read. Perhaps it is the translation, I am not sure.

However, I still see the promise and I'll be checking out his other novels.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 July 1998
Format: Paperback
Though not as successful in achieving its aims as The Woman in the Dunes, this is still an intriguing twilight-zone type of story. A young private investigator is set on the trail of a man who, we are led to believe, has run away from his wife. The only clues are a torn piece of paper with a sketched map of where he last met someone in connection with his work. But as he carries out his investigation everything gets more and more uncertain, rather than becoming clearer. Each person he comes into contact with at the beginning of his investigation has an identity, a relation of some sort to someone else in the story, but as events unfold, each and every one of them becomes clouded in a mini-mystery of their own, until, after falling into the hands of the wrong people and receiving one hell of a beating, even the hapless investigator, who has by now lost his job and livelihood, loses his ow! n identity and is left wandering off we know not where. In some sense The Ruined Map is an attempt at a reversal of the psychological drama of The Woman in the Dunes. Rather than re-establishing his identity and fitting in in a totally bizarre environment, our hero drops out of an environment he is familiar with and apparently loses all sense of his own identity. While it is convincing, I feel that my liking for Abe's weird world is all that got me through the middle section of this book, though the odd beginning and the truly chaotic ending are very enjoyable. I suggest reading this one first before going on to The Woman in the Dunes which is all round a better read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
One of Kobo Abe's finest writings 16 Oct. 2000
By Eiji Shibata - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Kobo Abe, one of the greatest surrealistic novelists, liked to depict, with the precise calculation and unconstrained freedom of mind that Picasso gave his work, entangled and precarious relatiionships between an individual and the society to which he "belongs". In "The Ruined Map", Kobo Abe casts spotlight on his lifelong motif from a different angle. Unlike his other books such as "The Box Man" and "Kangaroo Note", "The Ruined Map" is based on a relatively realistic situation. Almost all characters act apparently normally, and there seems to be nothing that makes us question sanity in the situation that surrounds them. The hero, who is a private investigator, is asked to find a young woman's husband who suddenly disappeared several months ago. He tries to find "rational explantions" of her husband's abrupt disapearance, but however, the notion of rationality soon traps him, challenging his conventional understanding of the relationship between an individual and the society. Kobo Abe explores his unique conception of identity with more restrained techniques of surrealism than in his most famous work "The Women in the Dunes". Yet, an insightful reader should realize that Abe ingeniously embedded the surrealistic subject in a realistic setting.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Is it fair to ask a man to always live up to his best work? 9 Dec. 2006
By Angry Mofo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Kobo Abe became famous with his first novel, The Woman In The Dunes. He deserved the fame. Though written in a very simple style, The Woman In The Dunes has an unworldly atmosphere, simultaneously beautiful and frightening. Its premise is not very realistic, but the description makes it very convincing.

Unfortunately, a man can only write a book like that once, when he is young. After The Woman In The Dunes, Abe became the most prominent avant-garde novelist in Japan. But from that point on, his books became increasingly uninspired and similar to one another. The Ruined Map (1967), The Box Man (1973), and The Ark Sakura (1984) have different storylines, but eventually it becomes obvious that, fundamentally, the three novels are exactly the same.

Every Abe novel after The Woman In The Dunes revolves around some kind of search. The main character is looking for something, or other people lead him to look for something. Abe rarely reveals why it's so important to find this thing, or even what it is. But Abe is a very vague author. His characters talk in oblique hints. It is almost never explained just what they're hinting at. If this irritates you, then you probably won't like Abe's books.

In his vague search, the main character runs into the same three people:

1. "The Helpless Femme Fatale"

This archetype is the main female character in an Abe book. She is usually described sympathetically, as being feminine and vulnerable. However, she also serves to draw the main character into some kind of crisis from which he cannot escape. Abe sometimes drops vague hints that she knows more than she lets on, but this matter is never adequately clarified. In The Box Man, this is the female doctor; in The Ark Sakura, it's the shill's assistant; and here in The Ruined Map, it's the missing man's wife.

2. "The Malicious Observer"

This is always a man who verbally antagonizes the main character. Abe hints that this character not only knows the truth about the main character's situation, but is in some way responsible for it. However, the malicious observer never really does anything. He just stands there and says a lot of very vague words to the main character, hence his status as "observer." In The Box Man, this is the doctor; in The Ark Sakura, it's the shill; in The Ruined Map, it's the woman's brother.

3. "The Dangerous Prey"

Abe's main characters are always searching for the dangerous prey. The dangerous prey doesn't have to actually physically appear (although he does in The Ark Sakura). He's more important for his status as "prey" that the main character must hunt down. However, even if he doesn't physically appear, he still has a great deal of influence over the main character. Along with the helpless femme fatale, he lures the main character into some kind of trap, hence why he is dangerous. In The Box Man, this is the box man; in The Ark Sakura, it's the main character's father; and here, it's the missing man himself.

This formula does not seem to add up to much. Personally, I think that The Box Man is totally unreadable, and The Ark Sakura becomes unreadable by piling on irrelevant, bizarre absurdities as it progresses. But although The Ruined Map is still basically the same novel as the other two, it leaves a much better impression. This is because The Ruined Map is nominally written as a mystery novel, in which a private detective is hired to locate a man who disappeared without a trace. And as it turns out, this genre is perfect for Abe's vague style. Mysteries are supposed to be vague. They're supposed to lead the reader on. After The Woman In The Dunes, Abe does nothing but lead the reader on. It's a perfect match.

Thus, by happy coincidence, the chosen setting makes Abe's style interesting. Most of the book is fairly empty of content, as usual, with endless vague monologues and grotesque imagery. But there are two things that stand out.

First, by virtue of the plot, the helpless femme fatale looks particularly helpless this time around. The way she resorts to alcohol because she can't make sense of what happened to her husband is even touching. She looks truly helpless, more than her counterparts in the other books. This provides an effective contrast to the arrogance of the malicious observer, and to the sleazy places where the main character tries to find clues.

Second, because of the helpless femme fatale, the ending is especially sudden and effective. This is really the last time in Abe's career as a writer when he could create a genuinely powerful scene. In some sense, it lacks substance, because it consists of an absurd event that happens for no particular reason, and without explanation. On the other hand, it perfectly encapsulates a feeling of being overwhelmed by events beyond one's control. And it highlights the pathetic, yet dangerous attraction posed by the helpless femme fatale to the main character. Unsurprisingly, it recalls The Woman In The Dunes.

The Woman In The Dunes is Abe's best work. In comparison, his later novels are superfluous. But, if you really want to read one of them, The Ruined Map is by far the best choice.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Reversing the psychology of Woman in the Dunes. 22 July 1998
By Hugh Lawson (hugh@typhoon.co.jp) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though not as successful in achieving its aims as The Woman in the Dunes, this is still an intriguing twilight-zone type of story. A young private investigator is set on the trail of a man who, we are led to believe, has run away from his wife. The only clues are a torn piece of paper with a sketched map of where he last met someone in connection with his work. But as he carries out his investigation everything gets more and more uncertain, rather than becoming clearer. Each person he comes into contact with at the beginning of his investigation has an identity, a relation of some sort to someone else in the story, but as events unfold, each and every one of them becomes clouded in a mini-mystery of their own, until, after falling into the hands of the wrong people and receiving one hell of a beating, even the hapless investigator, who has by now lost his job and livelihood, loses his ow! n identity and is left wandering off we know not where. In some sense The Ruined Map is an attempt at a reversal of the psychological drama of The Woman in the Dunes. Rather than re-establishing his identity and fitting in in a totally bizarre environment, our hero drops out of an environment he is familiar with and apparently loses all sense of his own identity. While it is convincing, I feel that my liking for Abe's weird world is all that got me through the middle section of this book, though the odd beginning and the truly chaotic ending are very enjoyable. I suggest reading this one first before going on to The Woman in the Dunes which is all round a better read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Truly mind-bending! 22 Oct. 2003
By "mpazich" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Surrealism is not really my cup of tea, but I did enjoy reading this book, which treads on slightly firmer grounds of realism than Abe's other works. The structure is certainly interesting, as the reader is given as few clues to understand the story as the protagonist has in his case, and things get progressively more confusing and unclear. The whole thing has a dreamlike quality to it. I can't say I loved it, but if you are looking for a challenging and slightly avant-garde read with a surrealist bent then this is worth a try.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Existential noir... 11 Nov. 2013
By Brian C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was a little bit disappointed with this book. To be fair, my expectations were set impossibly high by the description on the back cover which claims that Abe's novel "combines the narrative suspense of Chandler with the surreal imagery of Kafka and the psychological insight of Dostoevsky." I doubt that any writer could live up to such a description, except for me, of course, but I choose not to for personal reasons.

Abe's book is sort of an existential-noir/mystery-novel about a private investigator who is hired by a woman to find her missing husband. He has very few clues to go on and the novel shifts between his interior monologues - where he works out his theories and suspicions - and his interactions with various and sundry characters from Tokyo's underworld in search of clues. There were a few things I found frustrating about the novel but before I get to that I like to start with the positive.

I liked the tone of the novel. The novel is in first-person, the private investigator is the narrator, and he has a tone of darkly comic cynicism that I really enjoyed. He is very suspicious of everyone's motives, he seems to know his way around the underworld of Tokyo, and he seems to have some street smarts, although I was never entirely sure whether he was meant to be a competent detective or sort of a bumbler. Either way, I enjoyed his perspective on the world and on the strange events of the novel.

Abe is a good writer. There are some genuinely lyrical passages in the novel, he does a good job creating a dark and somewhat seedy atmosphere, and he gives the reader just enough - a few tantalizing clues - to keep them interested in the mystery.

There are a few things I found frustrating about the novel. First, the dialogue is often quite obscure. Abe does not label who is speaking so it can be frustrating trying to keep track, especially when there are more than two people talking. More than that, however, there are times when the dialogue seems to make no sense. Someone will ask a question or make a statement and the response seems to have nothing to do with the original question or statement. You get the feeling that the character is alluding to something but it is never entirely clear what. Maybe I am just a bit dense, but I often felt a bit lost.

Second, Abe is not great at describing scenes (both of these complaints I thought were also true of his novel The Woman in the Dunes). He provides very geometrical descriptions like "the window cut at a forty-five degree angle with the curtain" (that is not an actual quote but merely an example of the kind of description I am talking about). Perhaps people who think more geometrically than I do will have an easier time with those kinds of descriptions but I often had a very hard time picturing what Abe was describing which sort of took me out of things.

I also felt like I was missing the point of the novel to some degree. I felt like there was a philosophical message in there somewhere but I was never entirely sure what it was. As a mystery novel I thought it was quite engaging and I really enjoyed the characters and the atmosphere and the tone but I kept trying to get behind the surface to figure out what Abe was saying - about personal identity or "the unknowable mysteries of human experience" (from the back cover). Perhaps I was straining too hard. At any rate, I did not feel that the "message", if there was one, was entirely clear.

All in all, I thought it was an interesting book that was definitely worth reading but I did not feel it totally lived up to my expectations (which, admittedly, were set impossibly high).
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback