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21 November, 2007

Book Review: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Muramaki

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is Haruki Murakami’s first collection of short stories since after the Quake (2002). It contains twenty – four short stories written between 1981 and 2005. The author mentions in his introduction, that his writing pattern alternates between novels and short stories, and never writing one type while working on the other. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is the first short story collection by Haruki Murakami that I have read. I’m a huge fan of his full length novels , and discovered during this reading, that my reasons for enjoying the author’s novels carries over to his short stories as well. I found this collection to contain whimsy magic. And a delightfully entertaining look at everyday life, and the emotions that power humans and their life experiences. Since the book has such a large amount of stories in its pages, it is hard to give each one a good look. Instead, let me tell you of a few favorites I have from the book.

Birthday Girl introduces the reader to the following idea; If you could have one wish granted, anything at all would you make it? The story is told by a woman recalling the strange events that happened on her twentieth birthday. While working on what was becoming a very disappointing birthday she stumbled into an extraordinary situation. While delivering an evening meal to the owner of the restaurant she worked at, she was given the choice of a gift that would change her life. He offered to grant her one wish.

In A “Poor Aunt” Story, the narrator tells a close friend how he wants to write a story featuring a “poor aunt”. In the process he wakes up one morning to find he has a poor aunt stuck to his back. Murakami explores what it is like for his writer to descend into a life where no one notices him, until one day she disappears. The story delves into human nature , and what drives us humans.

Blind Willow Sleeping Woman is an excellent collection of short stories written by a master of literature.

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