“Man-box” K. Abe in summary

The box-man, sitting in his drawer, begins the notes on the man-box. He describes in detail which box is suitable for a box man, how to equip it, so that it is convenient to be in any weather, what things are needed for the person in the box. The box of corrugated cardboard is most suitable. In the box, cut out the window and hang it with a plastic curtain cut in half: with a short movement of the head to the right or to the left, the curtains slightly move apart, and you can see everything that is being done around. At the moment when a person climbs into a cardboard box and goes out into the street, both the box and the person disappear, and a completely new creature appears-the box man.

Every person has a story. Here is the story of A. A man-box has settled under his windows. His presence was very irritating to A., and, in order for the man-box to get out, A. shot him with a wind gun. The box man left, and A. began to forget about him. But one day A. bought a new refrigerator. When he took it out of the box, he instantly wanted to climb into the box himself. Every day, after returning from work, he spent some time in a drawer from the refrigerator, and a week later became so attached to him that he no longer wanted to get out of it. After putting on a box, A. went out and did not return home.

The person who writes the box writes something from his own person, then from someone else’s, his narrative is monologic, then dialogical, and it is often impossible to understand where people are concerned, who are the product of his imagination, and where about other characters in the narrative, and it is even unclear whether such a stream of consciousness and narrative is so bizarre.

A box-man sits on the bank of a canal under a bridge along which a freeway runs, and a girl who promised to buy his box for fifty thousand yen is waiting. A few days ago a man-box peed while standing at the fence of his factory. Suddenly he heard a click and felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Being a professional photojournalist, he managed to take a picture of a man who, having shot him with a gun, ran. Blood flowed from the wound of the man-box. Suddenly, a girl who said that there is a clinic near, on the mountain, and thrust three thousand yen into the box window, that the person-box had something to pay for the treatment.

When the box man came to the clinic, it turned out that the shooting man was a doctor of this clinic, and the girl was a nurse. While the box man was in the clinic, the girl smiled at him tenderly and listened with interest to the stories he told her. At some point, the box man promised to get a box for fifty thousand yen for the girl. After leaving the clinic, the box-man felt bad and vomited long. He suspects that he was drugged without his knowledge. He waits a long time, finally the girl comes and throws from the bridge fifty thousand yen and a letter, where he asks him before the ebb tides, to break the box and throw him into the sea. The box-man reflects on the girl’s true intentions. He does not want to return to the old world, he would be glad to leave the box only if he could, like an insect with which a metamorphosis occurred, drop your shell in another world. Secretly, he hopes that a meeting with a girl will give him such an opportunity and a new, unknown creature will appear from the larva of the man-box.

The box-man decides to talk with the girl, return her money and cancel the contract. Approaching the clinic, he uses an automobile mirror to monitor what is happening in one of the rooms. There the girl is talking to another person-box, a duplicate of the writer. This second person-box, undoubtedly, a doctor, he’s a liar-box. At first, the box-man seems to have seen this scene somewhere, even was its participant, then he comes to the conclusion that this is not a memory, but a dream. He looks at the naked girl with delight. He remembers her story about herself. She was. poor student-artist and earned a living by posing. Two years ago, she was aborted in this clinic, and, not having the means to pay for treatment, she remained in her to work as a nurse. Most of all she was. liking the work of the model, and if the doctor was not against it, she would continue to pose now. The box-man is jealous of his double. The box-man is sure that it is worthless to get out of the box, but he believes that if so, then there is nothing to get out of the way, but he really would like to extend a hand to someone.

A box man on an empty beach makes himself well, preparing to leave the box forever. He sees a way out of the tunnel ahead:

“If the box is a moving tunnel, then the naked one is a blinding light at the exit from it.” He is going to come to the clinic by eight o’clock. The reception starts at ten, so that he will have enough time to explain everything to the girl, and if necessary, and to the doctor a false man-box. The box-man imagines his conversation with the girl. He would tell her that he had been following all the news before, he had written out a lot of newspapers, installed two TV sets and three radios. But one day he saw a dead man on the street. As a professional reporter, he wanted to take a picture of him, but changed his mind, because he understood: this case is hardly suitable for news. After all, people listen to news only in order to calm down. No matter how amazing the news is told to a person, if he listens to her, then he is alive. Since then, the boxer has stopped following the news. Among people who are not interested in news, there are no villains, he believes.

A fake human box is so similar to a box-man that it seems to the box-man that he who looks – he, and the one to whom he is looking at – is also he. A fake human box offers a box-man to do whatever he wants, for example, to enter into any relationship with a girl, provided that a false-human box can watch them all the time: after all, being in a box, he will not...harm anyone and he can be safely ignore. The box-man was used to spying on himself, but he was not ready to peek at him. A fake human box reproaches him for not actually parting with the box, and despite assurances that he is finished with the box, he writes his notes while in the box. The person-box has to admit that his interlocutor is the fruit of his imagination. In reality, there is only one person who writes these notes. And since this man desperately clings to his box, he intends to write his notes endlessly. The box man tells his interlocutor that when he is finished with his box, these notes will disappear, and along with them his interlocutor is a liar-box, he is also a doctor.

The interlocutor catches the person-box on the contradiction: the person-box claims that he wrote only one hour and thirty-four minutes, meanwhile the notes occupy fifty-nine pages, so the human liar thinks himself entitled to assume that the author of the notes is not a box man, but who something different, and he writes them elsewhere. For example, the author of the notes may be a lzhechelovek-box, which writes, imagining a person-box, which in turn writes, imagining a liar-box. The author of the notes notes that, regardless of who writes, the story moves extremely stupidly.

C. gives written evidence. He was born on March 7, 1926. He served in the army as a paramedic under the command of a military doctor and first helped him, and then became under his direction and with his knowledge to practice medicine himself. After the war, S. under the name of this doctor, with the knowledge of the latter, continued to independently practice medicine. S. until last year, lived in an unregistered marriage with N., the former lawful wife of a military doctor who as a nurse helped S. in the work. But when a year ago, S. hired a nurse practitioner Yoko Toyama, N. broke up with him. During the war, the military doctor fell seriously ill, and S. at his request began to give him injections of morphine. As a result, the military doctor became a drug addict.

After the war, he kept S. with him, because he could not do without his help. But gradually the mental state of the military doctor began to deteriorate, at last he has a desire to commit suicide. S. begged the military doctor to give up suicide even temporarily, but the military doctor in return demands that he be given a dose of the drug and allowed to admire the nakedness of the new nurse. At the suggestion of the wife of the military doctor, S. became a military doctor and registered the clinic for himself, and the military doctor ceased all communication with the outside world. S. assumes that the military doctor convinced himself that, along with. his name, origin, rights transferred S. and all himself as a person, and he himself became nothing. S. does not know the reason why the military doctor put on a cardboard box. Probably, he did it like a tramp, who loithed about the city for several months. But, perhaps, this vagabond was a military doctor who, after leaving the house, put on a box. In any case, some people saw how the person-box left the clinic and entered it.

When the corpse of a boxed man was thrown ashore on the shore of the seaside boulevard T., traces of numerous injections were found on him, which led to suspicions about the connection of the box man with the clinic and, as a result, allowed to identify the corpse.

Someone, apparently a military doctor, writes, referring to his accomplice, who should help him to end his life and hand him over to a drowned man. S. did not send him a girl whose nakedness is a necessary condition for suicide, from which the author of the notes concludes that his hour has struck. S. makes him two injections of morphine, then kills him, and when he dies, pours water into his mouth from the canister to give it to the drowned man. Notes break off in mid-sentence. In the last insert in the manuscript the author says that he wants to appear in his true guise and honestly tell us what his true goal is. In all that has been written so far, there is not a drop of lies, for this is only a figment of the imagination. The quickest way to get closer to the truth is not to find out who the real person is, but to establish who is not real.

The man-box finally reached the clinic. On the locked doors hangs a sign that there is no reception. He presses the bell button, and the woman lets him into the building. The box-man suspects that she mistook him for a fake human-box, and begins to explain to her that he is a real box man, the one who was waiting for her under the bridge, a former photo reporter, the night before. A woman demands that he immediately remove the box. The box man explains to her that he is naked-the boys dragged his trousers while he was sleeping. That he is not so embarrassed, the woman also strips naked. The man climbs out of the box and hugs the woman. He admits to her that he was not a real person-box, but notes are real, they got to him from a real box man after his death. About two months two naked people live together, trying to be as close as possible to each other. But the day comes, when a woman dresses and silently looks at her roommate. Now his nakedness begins to look infinitely wretched, and he crawls back into his box again. Instead of getting out of the box, he prefers to lock up the whole world. “Right now, the world must close its eyes and it will become what I imagine it to be,” thinks the box man. Turning off the light and removing the box, he nude enters the woman’s room, but the space, which has always been a room, suddenly turns into an alley near some station. He is looking for a woman, but without success.

The person-box makes an important addition to the description of the device of the box: it is necessary to leave in it enough free space for records. The fact is that the box from the inside is an extremely confusing space, and there is no doubt that somewhere in this labyrinth the woman disappears. She did not run away, she just could not find the place where the box man is now. When there are many guiding threads, there are as many truths as these threads.

The siren of the “first aid” is heard.


“Man-box” K. Abe in summary