Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
As Japanese writer Haruki Murakami enjoys great international fame and popularity and his major literary work has been translated into English, a new collection of his short stories offers another enjoyable view of his quirky literary universe. What unifies the twenty-five short stories of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is the encounter with the extraordinary, if not outright supernatural, by characters who think of themselves as exceedingly normal or mundane. With great literary skill Murakami describes how these characters are shaken out of their apparently tranquil life when the unforeseen occurs, be it an old lover calling, a tidal wave snatching a life, or a talking monkey stealing a name tag.
Since the short stories collected in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman cover the first three decades of Murakami’s literary career, a reader can detect that Murakami has remained true to his key themes of contemporary urban alienation and the intrusion of the extraordinary into ordinary lives as well as to his overweening humanity. Included are two of his first stories, written in 1981 and 1982, as well as many stories previously translated into English and published in various magazines. The final five pieces of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman were published by Murakami in Japan as Tokyo Kitanshu (2005; Strange Tales from Tokyo).
The title story, “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman,” illustrates the special appeal...
(The entire section is 1813 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 17 (May 1, 2006): 6.
Entertainment Weekly, no. 894 (September 1, 2006): 80.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 11 (June 1, 2006): 540.
Library Journal 131, no. 6 (April 1, 2006): 88.
The New Republic 235, no. 17 (October 23, 2006): 34-37.
New Statesman 135 (July 3, 2006): 66.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (September 17, 2006): 14.
People Weekly 66, no. 11 (September 11, 2006): 60.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 24 (June 12, 2006): 27.
The Times Literary Supplement, June 30, 2006, pp. 21-22.
(The entire section is 46 words.)