Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RecommendedReads | A taste of Murakami

I’m going to dedicate this week’s RR to one of my favourite authors (in translation), Haruki Murakami. I’ll be honest though, he’s tough to understand unless you read his books twice over and then slyly Wikipedia the title when no one’s looking. Oh get off your high horse… You know you do it too! Murakami’s different, you see? And every time I finish one of his books, I want to pat myself on the back because I’m proud of my inability to put him down mid way, give up, even though I find myself doing that very often with other authors.

Murakami transports me to a zone that's somewhere between concentration and spacing out, but ultimately manages to keep me hooked to the worlds within the worlds that exist in pockets of Tokyo and other parts of modern day Japan. In fact, I fully plan to write a review of Kafka on the Shore, the second Murakami I ever read, which sealed my bond with him forever.

I’ve been ploughing thorough The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of short stories for a while and would really recommend you start with that if you’ve got a short attention span or just can’t wait to get to the end of a really absurd story. You won’t regret it. I promise. Buy The Elephant Vanishes from

But if you want a taste before actually making the investment, you might want to read Town of Cats, a short story that was recently published in The New Yorker. Sure, it starts off well enough: Son goes to visit an emotionally unavailable father for whom he feels nothing. Suddenly, he recalls a scene from his infancy that seems innocent enough until a certain detail, disturbing to the reader, not the son who’s reminiscing it, strikes him as odd. Is there a possibility that his father, with whom he doesn’t really feel a connection, who won’t talk to him about his dead mother, is not his biological father at all? Tengo, the protagonist, can only hope.

Another interesting, though confusing read today was an article in The Economist about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle being adapted into a stage play that premiered at the Edinburgh Festival on August 21. I know chances of us ever seeing this, or any of his other stories, performed in the likes of NCPA, Bombay are bleak, but to watch Murakami's imagination interpreted through sound, light and real people would be worth its weight in creative gold.

This piece though, oscillating between good and bad, just like all of the author's works that blur that lines between the real and surreal, does little to support my resolution not to travel to the next destination that will be showing the play. But I guess, once you fall in love with Murakami, it’s important to plunge first and think later. So far I’ve gotten through Kafka on the Shore, Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark. I haven’t lamented yet and I still love cats, goats and well, maybe not televisions or all-night diners. So away I go!

Please leave pledges for the Caterpillar Wind-Up-Bird-Fund for Afsha in comments section below.


  1. Duuuude I also totally love Murakami, and am totally going to get that book you recommended from the Flipkart link on your blog. Cant wait to read it!

  2. Thank you fido for buying from our Website! You have no idea how happy you have made us.



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