Author: Haruki Murakami
Discovered: Murakami fans, like me, have been waiting for this release for years
Where read: Kaffeine, Great Titchfield Street, London
What's the story?
This, brilliantly designed, reversible hard-back release features Murakami's first 2 novellas (Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973) written in the early 1970s. Both novels feature an unknown narrator, his friend 'The Rat' and typical Murakami-esque settings; coffee shops, bars and cheap rent apartments.
The Word's Shortlist view:The fact that the first translation of a Murakami work into English can cause such a publishing stir is evidence of the near God like status of Mr Murakami. Such is the power of his canon that ANYTHING he writes, or once wrote, is treated as nectar by publishers and fiction fans alike.
Could this simply be straight forward publishing furore? Possibly, but for us Murakami fans we just don't care. Both of these novels, and the newly composed prologue, can be seen as drafts of ideas that are later explored in classics such as A Wild Sheep Chase. You'll be tracing themes and characters from these stories right through to Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore.
For me Hear the Wind Sing is the stronger title and the most revealing in terms of Murakami's pre-emmience. The insight provided in the prologue exposes why his work has gone on to become the complete genre that it is.
Murakami sums it all up perfectly; “There's no such thing as perfect writing, just like there's no such thing as perfect despair.”
Who should read this book?
Quite simply this is a book for Murakami fans (read super-fans) who will relish the genesis of the Murakami style. New readers may wonder what all the fuss is about.
What’s next on the bookshelf
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann