• Ayesha Dhurue

The Box Man by Kobo Abe

It all started with wanting to become, or rather be, a box man. The book introduces a work of fiction that sets the boundary that separates a desire to become and to be. This book of fewer than 200 pages, is a paradox of that characteristic. If we’re human, are we best defined as having certain qualities or as lacking them? Say, for instance, a person possesses a unique characteristic that is flawed in others, does that take the person a step forward or a step back? Nothing, or nobody, will save you from drowning in the sea of such questions when you read the book. You’ll love its strange yet riveting twists and turns as much as you’ll find the narrator’s use of words confusing. Some books come with characters that readers find titillating. You’re immediately struck with affection or hate projected towards that character. Like a stone that hits the earth without having a choice to float; gravity is its judgment. However, with The Box Man by Kobo Abe, you’re left ridiculously amused by the idiosyncrasy of it all. It’s a curious book. Once you finish reading the first page, then comes the second, the third, the fourth…and the pages keep flowing.


Complement it with Bertrand Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy and you will understand how humans have always been the “objects” that are being expressed or written about and not the ones writing about matter itself.


Like an artist who while sketching a landscape is not expressing what is seen, but is actually revealing the nature of his or her soul.