haruki murakami

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by islandhopper » Tue May 13, 2008 22:52

Norwegian Wood is coming on holiday with me so I'm glad it's a bit more "normal". Reading Wind-Up Bird in the intense heat might have done funny things to me!

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by wrapyrtroubles » Tue May 13, 2008 23:32

i was introduced to the oeuvre of murakami by an older boyfriend i was besotted with at the age of 19. the first one i read was south of the border west of the sun, which is short and good. next up was norwegian wood - which i *loved* at the time, although i tried to re-read it a couple of years ago and it didn't have the same magic so i abandoned it a few pages in in order to preserve my youthful impression. i still always recommend it to younger people when they ask me for literary recommendations. in fact i think a young friend is probably in possession of my copy right now.

that book made me want to read the magic mountain by thomas mann, which is the book naoko is reading in the sanitarium i believe. i found a copy second hand and tried to start but it was daunting to say the least... must try harder!

i think the raymond carver influence is noticeable in murakami's writing. that subtle, perceptive description of relationships between men and women and the sense of something "missing" ... something unsaid... that makes the relationship real and alive.

i really enjoyed the wind up bird chronicle. so engrossing and mystifying. that 'nasty' scene alluded to earlier in this thread will live with me forever. i'm quite proud of myself for having been able to read it.. more than usually brave of me :-/ don't be put off by the weirdness. it's a brilliant book.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by grumpytimes » Tue May 13, 2008 23:37

i read norwegian wood a few years ago and as bad as it sounds i couldn't cope with that much sex. it was absurd.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by wrapyrtroubles » Wed May 14, 2008 00:48

weird, i hardly remember the sex. i *do* remember it being quintessentially adolescent though and having read it in my teens, felt it kind of needed to stay there. maybe when i've achieved a comfortable distance between then and now i'll go back to it...

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by schlump » Wed May 14, 2008 08:51

i read norwegian wood a few years ago and as bad as it sounds i couldn't cope with that much sex. it was absurd.
yeh. that's one of my problems with most murakami. it's like a larry clark or david lynch film, you're just waiting for formulaic stuff to happen, like weirdly explicit sex. kafka on the shore, too. i think norwegian wood's the one where he meets the girl on the bus?, right?, and that's kind of sweet. but otherwise, hm.

i kind of like some murakami, but i think the larry-clark-david-lynch thing is pretty pertinent overall; their good stuff's great, but their lesser works (cf. ken park, lost highway) just seem like they always do the same thing, with the same weird elements, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't; in murakami it's a blend of fantasy and vaguely mystic happenings and sex and exchanges of eighties american tv movie dialogue (the dialogue between the guy and the old man in kafka on the shore always reminds me of those little snatches of conversation that dave and toph swap when imagining plummeting off a cliff in a car in a heartbreaking work of staggering genius:

me: whew, that was close
toph: you said it
me: you hungry?
toph: you read my mind.)

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by Martijn » Mon Jun 09, 2008 20:54


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Re: haruki murakami

Post by crystalball » Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:39

Has anyone read that Marathon book yet?

I finished reading A Wild Sheep Chase a bit ago but it's been haunting me a bit. Would anyone like to talk about it and also Dance Dance Dance? I am getting a bit obsessed with the last part of the former - I nearly had a breakdown when I reached the bit with the Rat returning to the mountain villa. I was possibly overreacting but it did blow my mind.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by indiansummer » Tue Aug 26, 2008 13:43

crystalball wrote:Has anyone read that Marathon book yet?

I finished reading A Wild Sheep Chase a bit ago but it's been haunting me a bit. Would anyone like to talk about it and also Dance Dance Dance? I am getting a bit obsessed with the last part of the former - I nearly had a breakdown when I reached the bit with the Rat returning to the mountain villa. I was possibly overreacting but it did blow my mind.
i've bought the Marathon book, but it's still in the pile at the moment. Just started Jay McInerney's Brightness Falls, and then i've got a typically weighty John Irving that my friend bought for my birthday to get through. May be a couple of weekd before i get round to that.

BUT Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance are fantastic. it's nealy three years since i read the latter and even longer since i read the former, but i didn't want either of them to end.

Although, contrary to what everyone else seems to think, i enjoyed Kafka On The Shore more than any of his others. i also thought After Dark was quite lovely.
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Re: haruki murakami

Post by lynsosaurus » Tue Aug 26, 2008 13:49

crystalball wrote:Has anyone read that Marathon book yet?

I finished reading A Wild Sheep Chase a bit ago but it's been haunting me a bit. Would anyone like to talk about it and also Dance Dance Dance? I am getting a bit obsessed with the last part of the former - I nearly had a breakdown when I reached the bit with the Rat returning to the mountain villa. I was possibly overreacting but it did blow my mind.
i will talk about them with you, m, if you give me time to start reading them again! it's been ages since i read them, but would like to do so.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by alex_cornetto » Tue Aug 26, 2008 14:10

Dance Dance Dance was the first Murakami I read, but I didn't realise that it was actually a sequel until the Imagine documentary that was on earlier this summer. Should I make a point of reading A Wild Sheep Chase as my next Murakami novel?

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by crystalball » Tue Aug 26, 2008 14:14

You should definitely read it.
lynsosaurus wrote: i will talk about them with you, m, if you give me time to start reading them again! it's been ages since i read them, but would like to do so.
I can wait!

I read Dance Dance Dance before Sheep Chase and, although it wasn't a problem in terms of understanding the story, I'd quite like to read Dance again now (my favourite of his anyway) because I've got a feeling I'll have apocalyptic moments of the apocalypse.

indiansummer, I love Kafka on the Shore too. Possibly my second favourite. I remember being quite worried when I realised that I was identifying with that teenage boy quite intensely.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by indiansummer » Tue Aug 26, 2008 15:29

A Wild Sheep Chase is actually a sequel to one of his first two books, isn't it? The ones that haven't been translated into English cos he finds them a bit embarrassing. BOO, Haruki Murakami - i want to find out the history of the Sheep Man!

Crystal Ball - i know what you mean. Well, except for the crazy Oedipal stuff, obviously. but i enjoyed that even more than the others. there's still a few i've not read yet - South Of The Border..., Sputnik Sweetheart, After The Quake... and the new one... but i'm looking forward to them immensely.

the large majority of Birthday Stories was fantastic too.
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Re: haruki murakami

Post by Martijn » Tue Aug 26, 2008 15:29

indiansummer wrote:i also thought After Dark was quite lovely.
Where is After Dark placed on the Murakami-non-normality scale?

I read Norwegian Wood last year, which I really liked, but then various people (here, as well as at other places) told me his other books were much more surreal; hence I was a bit hesitant about reading them. But then I read After Dark last month, which I really enjoyed, including the surreal bits; I really liked its subtleness.

I haven't read the Marathon book. Wasn't it a book with short stories? In any case, the Guardian article I linked above is okay, but did not necessarily make me want to read a full book of it.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by crystalball » Tue Aug 26, 2008 15:42

indiansummer wrote:A Wild Sheep Chase is actually a sequel to one of his first two books, isn't it? The ones that haven't been translated into English cos he finds them a bit embarrassing. BOO, Haruki Murakami - i want to find out the history of the Sheep Man!
Really? I had no idea! The Sheep Man is such a brilliant character. I don't know how Murakami comes up with those creatures and makes them fascinating and gets them to fit in so perfectly. I want a way into his mind.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by lynsosaurus » Tue Aug 26, 2008 16:23

crystalball wrote: Really? I had no idea! The Sheep Man is such a brilliant character. I don't know how Murakami comes up with those creatures and makes them fascinating and gets them to fit in so perfectly. I want a way into his mind.
yeah, it was definitely part of a trilogy, with two books still unpublished in english making up the first two books of the trilogy. although 'dance, dance, dance' is kind of in the same vein, i don't think it was meant to be part of the same series, but i could be totally and utterly wrong.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by indiansummer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 09:02

Martijn wrote:Where is After Dark placed on the Murakami-non-normality scale?.
It's not his oddest... off the top of my head, i'd say Hard-Boiled Wonderland... is the oddest i've read. Ask me tomorrow and i'll give you a totally different answer though. My personal favourite is Kafka On The Shore, which is quite strange but absolutely beautiful. Although the best approach is probably just to throw yourself headlong into them...
lynsosaurus wrote:yeah, it was definitely part of a trilogy, with two books still unpublished in english making up the first two books of the trilogy. although 'dance, dance, dance' is kind of in the same vein, i don't think it was meant to be part of the same series, but i could be totally and utterly wrong.
i think yr right actually - A Wild Sheep Chase is meant to be the final part of a trilogy, but Dance, Dance, Dance just happens to pick up exactly where Sheep Chase left off, with the same characters. A Douglas Adams-esque trilogy of four, perhaps...?
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Re: haruki murakami

Post by JohaN » Tue Sep 16, 2008 14:25

off the top of my head, the first two were "pinball" and "1979" (though i might have got that horribly wrong!) and the trilogy was called something to do with "the rat"... which kills me about the first 2 not being translated, since it implies that they're more about "the rat"... a personage whom* i find extremely fascinating!
after "wind-up bird", "wild sheep chase" and "dance dance dance" are my favourite murakami's - though it's been a long time since i've read them as well. thinking back on it now, and what i remember (vaguely!) from them, the ending to "wild sheep chase" and that to "the great gatsby" suddenly seem very similar - in fact, i've found that the more i've found out about hm's english reading tastes (fitzgerald, carver, brautigan, capote, chandler) the more i appreciate his work.

and yes, i liked "kafka on the shore" too.

* oh crap! suddenly i'm not sure if this should be "whom", "who", or even "which" or "that"...
1 wasn't for the money
2 wasn't for the show
3 is GO! GO! GO!

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by indiansummer » Tue Nov 11, 2008 09:11

Just started What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - very good so far. It's not a novel; more like a collection of thoughts... but it's a nice way to pass the time while i wait for his next one to come out.
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Re: haruki murakami

Post by Martijn » Mon Jan 05, 2009 23:14

I just finished A While Sheep Chase. I did enjoy it and it didn't really put me off Murakami or anything, but I did find the ending a bit disappointing. Perhaps I just was too eager to finish it, but I had expected something slightly more impressive.

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Re: haruki murakami

Post by indiansummer » Tue Jan 06, 2009 08:37

Oh, i really liked the ending! Saying that, i can't remember for the life of me what happened. What i do recall is that i found it superbly understated, and an unexpectedly lovely way to end the book. I'd advise you to dash out and read the follow-up Dance, Dance, Dance though...

Oh, by the way, Running is pretty decent. Not mind-bogglingly incredible, but a very warm, pleasant and sometimes intriguing read.
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