I am way behind in my posts on the works I have recently read so I will keep my remarks on this work brief.
The Face of Another is an incredibly intelligent account of the nature of the mask we construct for ourselves, how we hide and try to create illusions to shield us. In readings for Irish Short Story Week I came upon Oscar Wilde's famous saying that if you give a man a mask to wear he will tell you the truth. If Wilde knows something about masks, and he knows a lot, then Abe immeasurably more. Abe went to medical school and that training shows in this novel. It is also a meditation about how WWII impacted the narrator. There is an amazing scene set in a mental hospital for Japanese WWII veterans where a woman scarred terribly at Hiroshima volunteers to do laundry once a week. In broader terms, the novel is a serious pondering of the human condition. It is a deeply intellectual novel.
This is my third Abe Novel. There are eight of them in translation as kindle editions and I hope to read them all. My next Abe novel will be The Boxman, about a man who walks all over Tokyo with a box on his head.