I can say that I read this book on one breath. It's not long, 150 pages (I read in Ukrainian translations, and of course it's translated from Japanese to multiple languages).
The schoolteacher from Tokyo, visits a fishing village to collect insects. At the end of the day the villagers bring him to a house in the dunes that can be reached only by rope ladder. The next morning the ladder is gone and he finds out that he is a prisoner there. He is expected to work and clean the sand, and water and goods is supplied to him by the villagers, but personally he can't go out. He is thinking of the way to ran away and makes several attempts.
Here I need to say that big minus for me was that in the beginning of the novel, there is information that a person went missing and after 7 years the court made this decision. So during reading of the hard times the man is facing in a sand trap, you already know that he won't get away from there at least for 7 years. So as for me, in a way this spoils a bit reading impression.
As I know there is film based on the novel, I didn't watch it, but the plot is a good for light thrillers. I even remember this year I watched Vivarium with a similar story idea.
But reading is always better than the film. When you read you feel better of being this man, who is trapped in an old house in sands, suffering the presence of sands and heat. In a way sand as a notion was metaphysical for him, as he was learning everything about the sand probably few people knew more on this subject than him. He went to the dunes with ambitious goal not only to collect insects, but find particular insect which is not yet discovered, and become the one who discovered it. So his name will go down to the history.
It turned out that he got more than enough of sand. And there is this woman living in the sands, and now he is trapped in this pit with the goal to help here. Firstly he is not interested in her, he has a wife back home, and it's of course a bit strange and wild to live in the dunes like this. But what happens next? Is she a friend or an enemy who helped to imprison him? Will he get back from this weird village or will die in the dunes?..