Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories


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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories by Haruki Murakami

Coming this October: Killing Commendatore, the much-anticipated new novel from Haruki Murakami

The twenty-four stories that make up Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman generously express the incomparable Haruki Murakami’s mastery of the form.

Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an ice man, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we might wish for. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit Murakami’s ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and entertaining.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400096084
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/09/2007
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 140,778
Product dimensions: 5.15(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.84(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)

About the Author

Haruki Murakami is a prolific writer of novels and short stories, including Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which won the prestigious Tanizaki Prize.

Patrick Lawlor has recorded over three hundred audiobooks in just about every genre. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews.

Ellen Archer is an acclaimed audiobook narrator and winner of the coveted Audie Award for For the Love of a Dog by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD.


Tokyo, Japan

Date of Birth:

January 12, 1949

Place of Birth:

Kyoto, Japan


Waseda University, 1973

Read an Excerpt

Blind Willow, Sleeping WomanWhen 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. In his 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 basi- cally 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. Visit Haruki Murakami's official website to read more from Blind Willow, Sleeping

Table of Contents

Introduction to the English Edition

1.) Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
2.) Birthday Girl
3.) New York Mining Disaster
4.) Airplane: Or, How He Talked to Himself as If Reciting Poetry
5.) The Mirror
6.) A Folklore for My Generation: A Pre-History of Late-Stage Capitalism
7.) Hunting Knife
8.) A Perfect Day for Kangaroos
9.) Dabchick
10.) Man-Eating Cats
11.) A “Poor Aunt” Story
12.) Nausea 1979
13.) The Seventh Man
14.) The Year of Spaghetti
15.) Tony Takitani
16.) The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes
17.) The Ice Man
18.) Crabs
19.) Firefly
20.) Chance Traveler
21.) Hanalei Bay
22.) Where I’m Likely to Find It
23.) The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day
24.) A Shinagawa Monkey

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

Customer Reviews

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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
tronella on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This is a collection of short stories. Most of them read like he's describing something that happened to him, although a lot of them become very surreal by the end, or aren't really resolved (much like a real occurrence, I guess). I don't have things to say about every story, but here's what I wrote down:"I felt that I knew what he was getting at. At the same time, I felt that I had no idea what he meant." - New York Mining Disaster.Usually a good description of a Murakami story! This particular one made no sense to me whatsoever.The Year of Spaghetti: I love the thought that in Japan you have to go to a specialist shop to buy the kind of herbs required for spaghetti sauce! I never thought of that before."'I'm not just saying this to make you feel good,' Kirie said, 'but you've got something special - that special something it takes to become an outstanding writer. Your stories have a quiet mood, but several of them are quite lively, and the style is beautiful, but mainly your writing is so balanced." - The Kidney-Shaped Stone that Moves Every Day. A good description of Murakami, I think. :)
BooksCatsEtc More than 1 year ago
Murakami has a real way with injecting the bizarre into the ordinary. I don’t know if it can be called a form of magical realism, but if not it gets very close. I enjoyed these stories thoroughly, even the ones I’m not sure I understood, like the title story. That’s OK, I liked reading it and I’m sure I’m going to like re-reading it to see if I can get a better grip on it.
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Group1Nook 39 More than 1 year ago
Not th bestw book or anythig the book is boring the more you reading it th more its boring