The Woman in the Dunes Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Woman in the Dunes

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?
Click here to see the rest of this review

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.
The review of this Book prepared by Sergio Mendoza

Chapter Analysis of The Woman in the Dunes

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Exploring into the wild    -   Yes kind of story    -   struggle to get home Lover is    -   an historical enemy

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Japanese


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Japan Desert?    -   Yes Desert:    -   dying of thirst, sunburn Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids    -   sinister, like an X-Files Gomer Pyle

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   impregnation/reproduction Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Woman in the Dunes

Kobo Abe Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian