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Birthday Stories Hardcover – 8 Jan 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press (8 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843431599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843431596
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The perfect year-round present" (Time Out)

"Brilliant...Murakami introduces all these stories with grace and lightness of touch" (Sunday Herald)

"A memorable collection. Voices and settings as diverse as the authors, but they are all concerned with the arbitrary yet immensely significant way in which we mark the passing of our lives" (Observer)

"The quality of storytelling is exemplary... There's darkness enough here for the hardiest of cynics, but enough heart to charm" (Word) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Selected and introduced by Haruki Murakami. A collection of twelve birthday stories from some of the most distinguished writers of western literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is what all anthologies should be like.
Although there's only one story by Murakami, all the stories feel a little bit Murakami. There's a substantial introduction to the anthology as a whole, along with a short introduction to each author by Murakami. This made it feel like the stories were being read to you by Murakami. I'll certainly be hunting down books by the authors introduced to me by this book.
One of the best Birthday presents I've had!
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed these - the theme of birthdays is a good idea and each contributor adds a different layer to the cake. All were worth sampling, but particular favourites (apart from Murakami's own of course!) were Canin's "Angel of Mercy, Angel of Wrath", a wonderful tale about an old woman and a bird - or several!, Carver's vintage "The Bath" and Keegan's "Close to the Water's Edge", a story about what you don't tell those you love and how you deal with it.
All good stuff, and all highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
That this collection of short stories carries Murakami's name is probably unhelpful and a tinsy bit misleading for most readers. The style, themes and subjects of these stories bear little or nothing in common with Murakami's writing, save for the fact that it is his hand that picked them and brought them together under one jacket.

I note one reviewer panned the book for it being too far from their realm of the familiar and personal experience. I would recommend it for exactly those reasons. This is a diverse collect and all the more welcome for that.
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Format: Paperback
A selection of 13 short stories (chosen and including one by the man himself, Haruki Murakami) which covers the subject of a day none of us forget ~ birthdays. Stories by various authors, Russell Banks, Denis Johnson, William Trevor, Daniel Lyons, Lynda Sexson, David Foster Wallace, Ethan Canin, Andrea Lee, Raymond Carver, Paul Theroux, Claire Keegan and Lewis Robinson. All very different stories about birthdays, a day than can mean different things to different people.

What I thought of 'Birthday Stories' ~

'Birthday Stories' is an interesting collection of stories, some that I enjoyed and some that I did not enjoy, my favourite stories were 'Turning' by Lynda Sexson, the story of a young boy being told a story by three elderly ladies, a different kind of story to tell a young boy but there was a message behind it which I really liked. 'Angel of Mercy, Angel of Wrath', the story of Eleanor Black who on her 71st birthday has crows flying into her apartment, which initially frightens up but leads to something that changes her outlook on life, 'The Bath' by Raymond Carver, was the sad tale of a young boy called Scotty who slips into a coma on his birthday, and how is parents wait for him to wake, 'Birthday Girl' by Haruki Murakami, which I read before and always liked, a story of a girl on her twentieth birthday, who is given the opportunity of a wish on her birthday, I love this quote from the story ~ 'No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves ~ that's all.'

The introduction by Haruki Murakami is great to read too, what can I say, I love that man's words.

The only downside of for me was the stories I did not really 'get' but I am glad I read them and the stories I enjoyed have introduced me to authors I will be looking out for.
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Format: Hardcover
2004 seems to be a bit of lean year for Murakami's text hungry English fans.
Sure, there's 2 new books out simultaneously (the other being Vintage Murakami, which appears to be a 'greatest chapters' collection), but both of them only contain one new short story each.
A considerable amount of time has passed since his last full English collection (After The Quake), and last novel (Sputnik Sweetheart - which along with his other books have been cruelly repackaged in very-unapt Mills & Boon type jackets), but I guess the wait for another substantial body shall have to continue. Still, Haruki is someone worth waiting for. I can't believe I'm a fan of five years now!
The good news thoigh, is that Birthday Stories is a great collection. Preceded by an introduction for the English specific audience, 12 stories, presumably to cover 12 months are presented here. One of them is Murakami's own, while the other 11 will be more than welcomed by Murakami's fans, if not more so than Murakami himself, as they all share a common thread.
As you'd expect, these stories aren't twee fairly tales. In true Murakami tradition, an ordinarity blooms into the entertaining. Highlights are down to personal taste, but I highly rate the selections from William Trevor, David Foster Wallace and Ethan Canin.
Murakami's own Birthday Girl reads familiarly. It's almost like a concentrated self-pastiche. The brief emphasis on a strange room, and an earlobe, remind of Dance, Dance, Dance and A Wild Sheep Chase. Murakami's words seems to have been overshadowed his own selections, but all in all, all 12 stories compliment eachother to create a fine body.
It is an enjoyable book which will definetly satisfy Murakami's eager fans, and even make non-fans burrow through any of the back catalogues of authors featured here. Recommended!
Now, when's that next novel coming out, hmm?
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