“Woman in the Sands” K. Abe in brief summary

One day in August a person goes on a three-day vacation to replenish his collection of insects with rare species found in the sands. He gets on the train to station S, transits to the bus and, getting off at the last stop, goes on foot. He passes the village and goes by the sandy road towards the sea. The road is getting steeper, and nothing can be seen around the world except the sand. A man reflects on the sand: he is interested in insects that are found in it, he also studied the literature on sand and made sure that sand is a very interesting phenomenon. Continuing the path, he suddenly finds himself at the edge of a sand pit, at the bottom of which stands a shack. He sees the old man and asks him where he can spend the night here. The old man, having found out beforehand that the visitor is a teacher by profession. and not the inspector from the prefecture, leads him to one of the pits. The man goes down the rope ladder. He is greeted affably by a young woman – the mistress of a shabby shanty. She feeds and pours the guest, but when asked if she can wash herself, she answers that water will be brought only the day after tomorrow. The man is sure that the day after tomorrow he will not be here. “Is that it?” – the woman is surprised.

A shack sinks in the sand, sand penetrates everywhere, and a woman holds a paper umbrella over the man’s head when he eats so that sand does not get into the food, but the sand is still felt in his mouth, creaks on his teeth, soaking in sweat, sand adheres to the body. The woman tells that during last year’s typhoon her husband and daughter were covered with sand, so now she is all alone. At night, she has to shovel sand so that the house does not fall asleep. Upstairs they know that a man has appeared in her house: another shovel and cans are being let down on the rope. The man still does not understand anything…

The woman gathers sand into cans, pours it out near the place where the rope ladder hangs, then the baskets are lowered, and the cans go up. Shoveling sand is easier at night, when it is wet, during the day it is so dry that it immediately falls down. A man helps a woman. The woman explains to the man that the sand does not rest and does not rest. The man is indignant: it turns out that the villagers live only to rake away the sand. In his opinion, it’s ridiculous to live like this, this way of life, chosen voluntarily, does not cause in him even sympathy. He can not sleep for a long time, thinking about the sand and hearing the woman continue to rake it. When he wakes up, he discovers that the woman is asleep naked near the hearth, wrapping her face with a towel to protect herself from the sand.

The man wants to leave unnoticed, but sees that the rope ladder has disappeared: those who came to pick up sand at night, took it away. The man feels trapped. It seems to him that there simply was some mistake.

The man begins to dig, but the sand immediately falls, the man continues to dig – and suddenly an avalanche of sand rushes down, which presses it down. He loses consciousness. A woman looks after him: probably he fell ill because he worked for a long time under direct sunlight. He is in the pit for a week, probably co-workers filed an application for his search. He imagines how they discuss where he could disappear. A man pretends to be seriously ill: he wants both the woman and those who planted him in this pit, finally convinced that he is not for them an assistant, but a burden, and they themselves tried to get rid of him. He can not understand the meaning of a woman’s life. He tells her how nice it is to walk, but she does not see the joy in it: “Walking around without anything – just get tired in vain…”

The man decides to make another attempt to get out of the hole. At night, when a woman rakes the sand, he suddenly pounces on it and binds it. When people come with baskets and lower the rope into the pit, the man grabs her and demands that he be raised if they want to help a woman. They begin to lift it, but soon they let go of the rope, and he falls to the bottom of the hole, and they pull the rope from his hand and leave.

A packet with three packets of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka are lowered into the pit. The man hopes that this is a pledge of an early release. However, the woman explains to him that tobacco is given to all men once a week and vodka. The man is curious as to whether such people as he has lost his way in the village have not wandered into the village. The woman says that several people accidentally ended up in the village, one... soon died, the other still lives, no one managed to escape. “I will be the first!” says the man. Looking into the tank, the man sees that the water has run out. He understands that she was not brought in to break his resistance; The torture of a woman does not bother anyone. A man releases a woman from a bond with the condition that, without his permission, she will not take a shovel in her hands.

He grabs a shovel and hits the wall: he wants to destroy the house to make a ladder out of the debris. Seeing that the wall is rotten, he decides to use for this purpose not boards, but transverse beams. The woman hangs on his arm and tries to tear out the shovel. The fight for the shovel ends in a love scene. The man understands: enmity with a woman is useless, he can achieve something only in an amicable way. He asks her to contact those who bring water and tell them to be delivered immediately. The woman responds that as soon as they begin to work, they will be recognized at the top about it – always someone looks through the binoculars from the fire tower – and then they will be immediately brought water. The man takes the shovel. When they let down a bucket of water, he tells the old man standing upstairs that his colleagues will announce the search and then those who forcefully keep him here will not get well. But the old man objects that since he was not found in ten days, they will not be found in the future. The man promises his help in easing the situation of local residents, he has connections, and he can start a campaign in the press, but his words do not make any impression, the old man leaves without listening.

In his spare time, the man stealthily makes a rope. Having finished it, he attaches scissors to her instead of a hook and in the evening, when a woman sleeps off before night work, throws rope on bags that serve as a pulley when draining buckets of water and lifting baskets of sand. Scissors dig into the bag, and the man manages to get out of the hole. This occurs on the forty-sixth day of his “imprisonment”. So that he is not swept from the fire tower, he decides to hide and wait until sunset. As soon as the sun goes down, he needs to quickly pass through the village – before the carriers of baskets with sand begin to work. A man strayed from the road: thinking that he had passed the village, he suddenly discovers it in front of him. He runs in fear through the village. Dogs rush after him. To protect yourself from them,

In pursuit of a man rush villagers. His legs suddenly become heavy and begin to tie in the sand. Immersed in the sand almost to the hips, he begs the pursuers to save him. Three men, attaching to the soles of the board, approach him and begin to dig out sand around him. After pulling it, they put it back into the pit. Everything that happened before begins to seem to him a distant past.

October is coming. The woman lowers the beads and saves money for a down payment for the receiver. The man built a small polythene canopy so that during the sleep they did not get sand, and invented a device for cooking fish in hot sand. He stops reading newspapers and soon forgets about their existence. The woman says that villagers secretly sell sand for construction at half price. The man is indignant: after all, when the foundation or dam breaks up, who will be more relieved by the fact that the sand was cheap or even free. He tries to negotiate with the bearers of the sand about the walk, they in return demand that he make love to them with a woman in front of them. The woman refuses to do this with the witnesses, but the man so wants to get out of the hole, that he pounces on her and tries to rape her. The woman resists. A man asks her to at least pretend,

The man notices that at the bottom of the keg, which he wanted to use as a bait for crows, water accumulates. He again and again reflects on the properties of sand. After a long, brutal winter comes spring, A receiver appears in the house. In late March, a woman feels that she is pregnant, but two months later she has a miscarriage. She’s taken to the hospital. The rope, on which it is lifted from the hole, remains to hang. The man rises upstairs, looks after the pickup truck, taking the woman away. He notices that in the pit in the device he made for the collection of water the bar has left, and he hurries to go down to fix the breakdown. The rope ladder is at his disposal, so there is no need to rush to escape.

Seven years after the disappearance of a man, an advertisement appears about his search, and since no one responds to him, six months later the court issues a resolution to consider him dead.


“Woman in the Sands” K. Abe in brief summary