Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors. His postmodern work alternates between full length novels and short story collections and they are always wildly innovative and thought provoking. Often compared to Kafka and Camus, his work has unexplained mystical events, mysteries that are solve with intuition rather than solid clues and unexpectedly funny moments. These stories are epiphanies in which the characters wander through surreal or magical experiences and end up with a new understanding of the world and their role in it.

Every short story collection has a story that speaks to the reader in a particular way and for me it was "Tony Takitani," a jolting story in which the main character's life begins and ends in loneliness. This work resonated with me. In the story, certain painful memories, in this case represented by ghosts, haunt Tony. When he finally exorcises those ghosts he is completely alone in the world and it is left to the reader to decide if he is better off or somehow worse when he has emptied himself of these memories? Has he attained perfection by freeing himself from worldly attachments and becoming completely alone?

At the beginning of this collection the author talks about his love of the short story form and that joy is apparent in each story in the collection.

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