A big-city schoolteacher on a trip to the dunes of Japan's Southwest to collect insects is taken in by a village and given room at a young widow's place, which is located in a huge pit in the local desert. The next day, he discovers the truth behind the villagers' kindness: he's been taken captive to help the woman in the shoveling and collection of sand to sell to industries as well as prevent landslides. Angry at this, he attempts several ways to escape the pit, but each time the wicked villagers thwart him. Resigned to living with the widow, he falls for her - although he cannot help but wonder if her lonely, boring lifestyle is forced or willingly accepted... Will he devise a better means of escape? Or will he stay with her and provide her help - and companionship - for life? Either way, what would the meaning in all this be for his life?
This book is short in plot and to the point (of course, there isn't much else to do with such a setting), but each scene inspires us to think about how differences in people are sometimes repressed by society, and the way some will go to keep the status quo. This book was also made into a successful movie.
This report prepared by Sergio Mendoza