Book 122: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

Finished reading on March 27th, 2014

Rating: 7.5/10

Murakami’s style = missing people and cats + intelligent young people + mystery and magic. Kind of like Mikhail Bulgakov  and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mixed up, as there’s someone who’s gone missing, some-one who’s there trying to find them, and then you might have talking animals.

This book is a collection of Murakami’s short stories, that might be a good introduction to his style. They’re interesting, although some might make you want to read more about what happened in that specific story.

However, if you’ve read something by Murakami before, then you’ll probably see something really familiar. For example there are stories that are  actually included in his Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up bird Chronicle for example.  That was something that borthered me, as although I quite liked the novels, I rather didn’t like reading the same story again, maybe with different names and initial conditions, but that nonetheless followed the same basic formula (probably they were written up before the novels…).

The stories are good, mostly they’re sad – in almost every one of those there’s someone who has just died, or who has gone missing, so this collection more that anything I’ve read by Murakami before reminded me of Arthur Conan Doyle. That makes it a lot easier to understand the popularity of his work as well – there’s mystery and you want to know what happened, but you can’t be certain that there aren’t supernatural elements in there like talking monkeys for example, which was the part that reminded me of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita’s Behemoth. (So if you love Murakami, you might like Bulgakov)

So what one basically needs to know about it is, that it’s 24 short stories – something I didn’t know when I bought the book.

 

 

Book 113: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

PIMG_9362Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Finished reading on March 4th, 2014

Rating: 7/10

Sputnik Sweetheart tells the story of a college drop-out named Sumire, who has plans to become a writer and luckily enough her parents support her and so she spends her time writing and reading and ocassionally talking about everything to the narrator in this book, K. K is a few years older than Sumire and met her at the college, where she was studying literature and K. history. K. is in love with Sumire. She however isn’t even sure that such a thing as sexual desire exists until she meets a woman in her late thirties and she falls in love with her – now mysterious events start to happen.

It is an interesting little story with the classic odd Murakami characters and magical realism.

It was quite enjoyable and exciting as something happens in the book that leaves you wondering what is going on…

Book 77: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

PIMG_0211Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Finished reading on September 28, 2013

Rating 9/10

Norwegian Wood is an intertwining story of the lives of several people in 1968-1970 in Japan. The main character and narrator is Toru Watanabe, who is studying at a university and living in a dormitory. It is a time of student uprisings and seems like an interesting period.

The main story revolves around Watanabe’s friend Naoko, who was Watanebe’s best friend’s, Kizaki’s,  girlfriend.   Kizaki committed suicide and left Naoko in a rather odd state and that’s what Watanabe has to deal with in the book. But naturally being a student, he’s not cut off from other people. He meets a girl named Midori in a lecture, they become friends, but then there’s a lot going on in Midori’s life and drama ensues…

In some ways it’s kind of philosophical, showing different ways of looking at life and even studying and relationships.

It was a really good read.

And a movie was made based on this book.

 

 

 

Book 36: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird ChronicleThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Finished reading February 19, 2013

Rating 8/10

Some books take forever to finish. For me those books seem to be the ones spanning over more than 400 pages. They seem a bit frightening to say the least, as I never know whether I’ll survive reading it.

The same was with “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”. It is interesting enough, but there’s not much suspense to keep you going page after page.

The characters are vivid and there’s enough mystery about them to leave a nagging feeling that there’s something not quite right.

The book is about a man, who in the course of the book gets the nick-name Mr. Wind-Up Bird. His cat has gone missing, he has quit his job and to top it off his wife leaves him. So the moral of the story: don’t lose your cat if you want your relationship to survive. Only joking, that’s not the moral of the story, at least I hope it isn’t.

In about 600 pages one gets to read about the protagonists search for himself and his wife and about all the curious people who suddenly appear in his life bearing such unusual names.

It reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” for some reason, with it’s odd happenings…