Japanese writer Kōbō Abe’s 1974 novel is a hardboiled detective story that combines the narrative suspense of Chandler with the psychological suspense of Dostoevsky.
Mr Nemuro, a respected salesman, disappeared over half a year ago, but only now does his alluring yet alcoholic wife hire a private eye. The nameless detective has but two clues- a photo and a matchbook. With these, he embarks upon an ever-more-puzzling pursuit that leads him into the depths of Tokyo’s dangerous underworld, where he begins to lose the boundaries of his own identity. Surreal, fast-paced and hauntingly dreamlike, Abe’s masterly novel delves into the unknowable mysteries of the human mind.