Customer Reviews


30 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


48 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a meander through a magical world
A writer that expresses perfectly the isolation and loneliness of the modern world, Murakami's short stories are like peering through a dozen windows into a world where fantasy and reality mix, seperate and blend together again. His talent lies in the ability to take the mundane and make it fantastic, offering us a peek into ordinary lives sprinkled with the kind of...
Published on 8 Feb 2006 by radicallypoetic

versus
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short story collection up to Murakami's usual standard
This is Murakami's first proper short story collection in English since The Elephant Vanishes. After the Quake, though also a collection of short stories, is more of a coherent work, whereas these two collections draw from stories published from all periods of Murakami's career, and from many different collections in Japanese.

The publication dates of the...
Published on 13 Dec 2007 by Greshon


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short story collection up to Murakami's usual standard, 13 Dec 2007
This is Murakami's first proper short story collection in English since The Elephant Vanishes. After the Quake, though also a collection of short stories, is more of a coherent work, whereas these two collections draw from stories published from all periods of Murakami's career, and from many different collections in Japanese.

The publication dates of the stories are not given and, as Murakami says in his introduction (a nice touch), many of the stories have been significantly revised since their first publication. Thus, there is little coherence and tracing the author's development of style and themes is almost impossible, even with the aid of the bibliography in translator Jay Rubin's very interesting biography/literary study (also published by Vintage).

Murakami's short stories are very good, sometimes excellent, but it is in the sustained brilliance of his novels where his true value as a writer lies. The stories in here are, on the whole, up to Murakami's usual standard.

As in his novels, truly bizarre and unexplainable occurs in these stories. The most bizarre here is a talking monkey hiding in the sewers of a Tokyo suburb, but this is only one example. The more I read Murakami, the more I think this mystical, seemingly meaningful, content actually means nothing at all. This only marginally lessens its interest and mystery, though. Maybe one day I'll change my mind and be able unlock these conundrums (`like Zen koans', as one of the characters in this collection notes).

Throughout Murakami's work, a regularly re-occurring theme is things going missing without any explanation. It's no different in these stories. Sometimes it's things (name tags), often men (stockbrokers), usually women (girlfriends). Like one of the stories in The Elephant Vanishes, some of the stories here are the seeds of the writer's novels, fragments of them in a slightly different form.

Masters of the short story like Dahl, Fitzgerald and Hemmingway warrant a 5 for some of their collections, but there just isn't enough depth in these stories to warrant that kind of credit. They are like beautiful little sketches whose greatest power is to evoke a mood - nearly always one of wistful sadness - extremely powerfully. Don't expect them to mean anything, though, because they probably don't.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


48 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a meander through a magical world, 8 Feb 2006
This review is from: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Hardcover)
A writer that expresses perfectly the isolation and loneliness of the modern world, Murakami's short stories are like peering through a dozen windows into a world where fantasy and reality mix, seperate and blend together again. His talent lies in the ability to take the mundane and make it fantastic, offering us a peek into ordinary lives sprinkled with the kind of surreal conversations and events that make you look around you whilst in the street or on the bus and wonder what all these people around you are really like.
I can't read any of his work without seeing the world differently afterwards, and this collection i could read over and over. Impossible to pigeon hole, each story has it's own distinct mood, but in each the atmosphere persists; that the world has a beauty that, if we just scratch the surface off the everyday, will be revealed.
If you're new to Murakami, start here or with The Elephant Vanishes, if you're familiar with his writing you will need no persuasion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murakami story collection, 29 May 2011
A short story collection from one of my favourite writers. Each of these tales is completely unique and mysterious in its own way. And each one has a brilliant kernel of an idea. As I read more Murakami I think I am starting to get an idea of what I like about him. Firstly there's his imagery. For some reasons he seems to paint pictures in your mind that consist of only primary colours. There are always blue skies and green grass. There is a freshness to his scenery that is absent from other peoples' work. Secondly there is his strange view of the world that has some consistency the more you read. In his fiction there are ideas of metaphysical bonds existing between not only humans but human inventions - things such as buildings, or clothes, or even names themselves. And these bonds seem to open up your mind to the possibility of some strange other world existing just beyond the dimensions of our own.

All of the stories in this collection are excellent and I guess you have to read them to understand why because trying to explain the plots is just too difficult. Suffice to say, if you like Haruki Murakami then you be sure to like this collection.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty-four delightful short stories, 3 Sep 2007
By 
HORAK (Zug, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This collection of short stories features quite a range of memorable characters and situations. Blind willows have a lot of pollen and tiny flies covered with it crawl inside the ear of a woman and put her asleep. A waitress about to spend her twentieth birthday in a surprising manner. A man who has the astonishing habit of going to the zoo whenever there is a typhoon. The story of a mirror capable of reflecting another self. The strange story of a disabled son and her mother holidaying on an island.
In many of these stories, narrative tension is heightened by a refusal to explain strange events; Murakami's ghosts and mysteries remain what they are. In "Nausea 1979" for example, the reader will never know whether a serial adulterer has been cursed, or whether his nausea has something to do with his predilection for deceptive seduction. Murakami never gives answers to the reader's questions, and the result is memorable if puzzling at times.
The stories in this collection have all of Murakami's characteristic strangeness, but they combine the bizarre with a tight structure. They show the author at his best; not as a cult literary figure but as a really first-rate writer of short fiction. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short stories led long thoughts, 7 Mar 2008
By 
S. You - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Various strange but thought provoking collection of short stories that I really liked and could not stop reading once I started. These short stories appear to be a bit strange collections on the surface but each story provided a deep message made me think through. My favorate one was the kidney shaped stone that moves every day. All stories are beautifully wrtten with very soft touch to heart but this one was the best for me which I had to read twice. Also aroplane and spagetti were very touching. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to think about facts and elements of life deeper.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I think that this author is very interesting. His ..., 3 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I think that this author is very interesting.
His short stories are always different and have subtle twists. Ihave read several of his books.
Peter Cathcart.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars not as good as after the quake, 26 April 2014
By 
Mr. Robert Marsland (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Apart from some exceptions I didn't really feel that this collection of short stories by Murakami reached the high water mark of After the Quake. a bit hit and miss
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars If you're bored by some of the early stories go to the last six, 30 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An inconsistent collection, with more than its fair share of duds, but the last six stories find Murakami at his best
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Part magical, part frustrating., 18 Jan 2014
By 
Samantha Brookfield (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've read numerous Murakami novels but this is my first experience of one of his short story collections. What I have discovered is that whilst his works always touch upon the same themes or preoccupations (jazz music, human sexuality and identity, beer and or whisky, and the preparation and consumption of food) these blend much better within lengthier works. In this short story collection they sometimes become rather repetitive. The foreword by Murakami himself suggests that this collection was not written in any set time frame which perhaps contributed to the repetitive aspects within the stories but I feel that with a writer of this calibre more care should have been taken to prevent this from happening. There are a few standout stories however; Tony Takitani beautifully deals with parental relationships and loss, whilst Firefly is made up of extracts from my favourite Murakami novel, Norwegian Wood. Overall whilst this collection has not diminished my admiration for Murakami's work, I feel that I will be sticking to his novels in future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Some stories are great, some are a little disappointing., 5 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It feels like it's a rough collection of any literary thought he came up with, so the result is that some are delightful and have the right to be short stories, whereas others just seem like extracts of something bigger.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (Hardcover - 6 July 2006)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews