"It was a me outside of me... it was me in a form that shouldn't have been me!"

“Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.” – book reviews

In Added by Katrina Kocialkowska on March 11, 2011 at 1:53 am

“As in his novels, Murakami’s central fascination is with the essential strangeness and unfathomability of life. (…) In story after story, seemingly ordinary people relay instantly engrossing histories — often through a writer named Murakami — that turn on coincidence or surreal elements and blur the line between dreams and reality.” –Heller McAlpin, Christian Science Monitor

“In Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, the 25 stories juxtapose the deeply bizarre with the mundane to evoke fleeting moods of sadness, hope, nostalgia, and dread.” –Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly

“In many of these stories, narrative tension is prolonged by a refusal to explain (…..) The stories in this collection have all of Murakami’s characteristic strangeness, but they combine the strangeness with structure. They show him at his very best; not as a cult novelist but as a really first-rate writer of short fiction. (…) The lasting effect is not that of a Japanese writer trying to write about the west, but of a writer whose relationship with his own culture is as complex, strange and powerful as the stories he creates.” –Tobias Hill, The Guardian

“If Murakami’s novels are grand enigmas, his stories are bite-sized conundrums. (…) The great pleasure of the new story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, is watching Murakami come at his obsessions from so many different angles. There’s a panoply of strangeness between these covers (…..) This collection shows Murakami at his dynamic, organic best. As a chronicler of contemporary alienation, a writer for the Radiohead age, he shows how taut and thin our routines have become, how ill-equipped we are to contend with the forces that threaten to disrupt us.” – Antoine Wilson, The Los Angeles Times

“Whatever the sources of their inspiration, the stories inBlind Willow, Sleeping Woman are nothing like a serious critical evaluation of a national identity. These stories are a succession of disparate and abstracted discontents that do not add up to a political position. A protest against the universe is a pre-political protest, crippled by its own generality, best carried out by teenagers and lunatics. What redeems Murakami’s writing from its puerility is its aestheticism: its haunting imagery, its credible voices, its allegorical play, its skill for surprise.” – Chloë Schama, The New Republic

“Haruki Murakami’s fictional world is extraordinary, but within the indisputable and beguiling weirdness that lurks below the casual-seeming surface, there is often a core that is disappointingly commonplace or even banal. (…) Too many stories use loneliness as a predictable plot device rather than a discovery about feeling. Characters have off-the-peg existential crises, resulting in sweating and vomiting for men, and silent tears and shoulder-shaking sobs for women.” – Tom Deveson, The Sunday Times

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