Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

4.1 23
by Haruki Murakami
     
 

Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an iceman, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. Whether during a chance reunion in Italy, a romantic exile in Greece, a holiday in Hawaii, or in the grip of everyday life, Murakami's characters confront grievous loss, or sexuality, or the glow of a firefly, or the impossible distances…  See more details below

Overview

Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an iceman, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. Whether during a chance reunion in Italy, a romantic exile in Greece, a holiday in Hawaii, or in the grip of everyday life, Murakami's characters confront grievous loss, or sexuality, or the glow of a firefly, or the impossible distances between those who ought to be the closest of all.

Editorial Reviews

Beautiful, ephemeral, and profoundly weird, the short stories in this collection by internationally acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami are nearly impossible to describe. Characters move through thoroughly contemporary settings (high-rise apartments, holiday resorts, etc.) in a sort of fever dream, haunted by ghosts and spirits of the past. Including 24 tales, each one more surreal than the one before, this follow-up to Kafka on the Shore includes all the strange events, bizarre epiphanies, and mystifying twists and turns we have come to expect from Murakami.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400044610
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/29/2006
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman


By Haruki Murakami

Knopf

Copyright © 2006 Haruki Murakami
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4000-4461-8


Chapter One

When I closed my eyes, the scent of the wind wafted up toward me. A May wind, swelling up like a piece of fruit, with a rough outer skin, slimy flesh, dozens of seeds. The flesh split open in midair, spraying seeds like gentle buckshot into the bare skin of my arms, leaving behind a faint trace of pain.

"What time is it?" my cousin asked me. About eight inches shorter than me, he had to look up when he talked.

I glanced at my watch. "Ten twenty."

"Does that watch tell good time?"

"Yeah, I think so."

My cousin grabbed my wrist to look at the watch. His slim, smooth fingers were surprisingly strong. "Did it cost a lot?"

"No, it's pretty cheap," I said, glancing again at the timetable.

No response.

My cousin looked confused. The white teeth between his parted lips looked like bones that had atrophied.

"It's pretty cheap," I said, looking right at him, carefully repeating the words. "It's pretty cheap, but it keeps good time."

My cousin nodded silently.

My cousin can't hear well out of his right ear. Soon after he went into elementary school he was hit by a baseball and it screwed up his hearing. That doesn't keep him from functioning normally most of the time. He attends a regular school, leads an entirely normal life. Inhis classroom, he always sits in the front row, on the right, so he can keep his left ear toward the teacher. And his grades aren't so bad. The thing is, though, he goes through periods when he can hear sounds pretty well, and periods when he can't. It's cyclical, like the tides. And sometimes, maybe twice a year, he can barely hear anything out of either ear. It's like the silence in his right ear deepens to the point where it crushes out any sound on the left side. When that happens, ordinary life goes out the window and he has to take some time off from school. The doctors are basically stumped. They've never seen a case like it, so there's nothing they can do.

"Just because a watch is expensive doesn't mean it's accurate," my cousin said, as if trying to convince himself. "I used to have a pretty expensive watch, but it was always off. I got it when I started junior high, but I lost it a year later. Since then I've gone without a watch. They won't buy me a new one."

"Must be tough to get along without one," I said.

"What?" he asked.

"Isn't it hard to get along without a watch?" I repeated, looking right at him.

"No, it isn't," he replied, shaking his head. "It's not like I'm living off in the mountains or something. If I want to know the time I just ask somebody."

"True enough," I said.

We were silent again for a while.

I knew I should say something more, try to be kind to him, try to make him relax a little until we arrived at the hospital. But it had been five years since I saw him last. In the meanwhile he'd grown from nine to fourteen, and I'd gone from twenty to twenty-five. And that span of time had created a translucent barrier between us that was hard to traverse. Even when I had to say something, the right words just wouldn't come out. And every time I hesitated, every time I swallowed back something I was about to say, my cousin looked at me with a slightly confused look on his face. His left ear tilted ever so slightly toward me.

"What time is it now?" he asked me.

"Ten twenty-nine," I replied.

It was ten thirty-two when the bus finally rolled into view.



Excerpted from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami Copyright © 2006 by Haruki Murakami. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Murakami's stories are difficult to describe.... Their beauty lies in their ephemeral and incantatory qualities and in his uncanny ability to tap into a sort of collective unconscious.... These stories are a joy." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Meet the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and the most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Tokyo, Japan
Date of Birth:
January 12, 1949
Place of Birth:
Kyoto, Japan
Education:
Waseda University, 1973
Website:
http://www.harukimurakami.com

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