Following the best-selling triumph of Kafka on the Shore - daringly original, wrote Steven Moore in The Washington Post Book World, and compulsively readable - comes a collection that generously expresses Murakamis mastery. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit his ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and relentlessly entertaining. As Richard Eder has written in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, He addresses the fantastic and the natural, each with the same mix of gravity and lightness.
Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an iceman, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. Whether during a chance reunion in Italy, a romantic exile in Greece, a holiday in Hawaii, or in the grip of everyday life, Murakamis characters confront grievous loss, or sexuality, or the glow of a firefly, or the impossible distances between those who ought to be the closest of all.
While anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, Laura Miller wrote in The New York Times Book Review, its the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselvesa feat performed anew twenty-four times in this career-spanning book.
If you're an aficionado of all things Murakami this is a collection you'll want to read cover to cover, probably in chronological order so as to see how his writing has changed over time. However, if you've enjoyed some of his earlier works but been a little bemused by others (or this is the first time you've read anything by Murakami) you'd be best to read strategically, skipping over the stories that don't resonate, and leaving a reasonable amount of time between mouthfuls. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Starred Review. [The stories'] beauty lies in their ephemeral and incantatory qualities and in his uncanny ability to tap into a sort of collective unconscious.
A superlative display of a great writer's wares. Absolutely essential.
Readers who fear the short story, particularly by writers with a high literary reputation, need to set hesitations aside here. Murakami is an open-armed, hospitable short story writer [with] a greatly appealing and embracing personal narrative voice.
Times Literary Supplement (London) [Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman] will undoubtedly confirm his reputation as literature's answer to David Lynch.
Sharp but humane [and] as unforgettable as it is untypical.
The Observer (UK)
Engrossing . . . Although Murakami's style and deadpan humor are wonderfully distinctive, his emotional territory is more familiar--remorse, unresolved confusion, sudden epiphanies--though heightened by the surreal.
In addition to writing his own books in Japanese (which have been translated
into more than thirty languages), Murakami is a skillful translator of English
works into Japanese, including works by Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, John
Irving and Paul Theroux.
In 2006, Murakami became the sixth winner of the Franz Kafka Prize, co-sponsored
by the Franz Kafka Society and the city of Prague (previous winners include
Philip Roth and Harold Pinter). In 2007 he was awarded the Kiriyama Prize
for Fiction for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman but, according to the Kiriyama Official
website, "declined to accept the award for reasons of personal principle".
The Kiriyama Prize, established in 1996, is a literary award given to books
which will encourage greater understanding of and among the peoples and nations
of the Pacific Rim and South Asia. Previous winners include Greg Mortenson
and David Oliver Relin for
Three Cups of Tea, Nadeem Aslam for
Maps for Lost Lovers and Rohinton...
At once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God. Winner of the 2002 Booker Prize.
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