First Person Singular

Haruki Murakami, trans. from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel. Knopf, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-31807-2
Murakami’s engrossing collection (after the novel Killing Commendatore) offers a crash course in his singular style and vision, blending passion for music and baseball and nostalgia for youth with portrayals of young love and moments of magical realism. The one thing shared by the collection’s eight stories is their use of the first-person-singular voice. Murakami’s gift for evocative, opaque magical realism shines in “Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova,” in which a review of a fictional album breathes new life into the ghost of the jazz great, and “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey,” wherein a talking monkey ruminates with a traveler on love and belonging. Murakami finds ample material in young love and sex, showcased in “On a Stone Pillow,” in which a young man’s brief tryst with a coworker, unremarkable in itself, takes on a degree of immortality after she mails him her poetry. In “The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection,” the collection’s one nonfiction piece, Murakami recounts how baseball and writing, the twin passions of his youth, grew together in the stadium of his beloved Yakult Swallows. These shimmering stories are testament to Murakami’s talent and enduring creativity. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 11/18/2020
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-385-69614-2
Paperback - 410 pages - 978-0-593-39654-4
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