Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Elephant Vanishes - Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami's writing is surreal in general, a skillful mix of the ordinary and the fantastical. His characters can be doing quite ordinary things, such as making spaghetti (a frequent activity) or reading the newspaper and then an element of the surreal intrudes. This is sometimes more of a feeling that you get from the story rather than something surreal that happens in the story, but there is always something there under the surface that stays in your mind and that you want to keep thinking about. 

This is one of the first books by Murakami I ever read, and some of the stories have stayed with me for years now (I won't say how many years). In fact, I originally got this collection of short stories, a genre I don't usually like, at the library, but I liked it so much I bought myself a copy, and then a few years ago gave it away to an acquaintance from another country who teaches English, who has a hard time getting good books in English. Since then I've been without my own copy until one of the stories, "Sleep," kept coming to mind and I really wanted to reread it. It didn't disappoint. It's funny about the stories - some have really stayed with me and others didn't, so it was as if I'd never read them. Since I was younger when I first read the entire collection, it will be interesting to see which stories stay closer to my mind now that I am older. 

One thing I would love to discuss with others is the repetition of a character name between a few of the stories. I feel like it is intentional, and yet I don't necessarily feel like it matches up with some of the other details, so maybe it doesn't mean anything. 

I know that I said I wanted to read previously unread Murakami books for the challenge, but since I had read several stories in this book already I figured I'd finish it up. I'll still try to read three that I haven't already read - I snagged a copy of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman at Borders too, so that'll be coming up on the queue! 

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