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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki…

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (original 2013; edition 2007)

by Haruki Murakami

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,531672,168 (3.82)115
Title:Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2007), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:short stories, other cultures

Work details

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (2013)

  1. 10
    On Flying Objects by Emil Hakl (rrmmff2000)
  2. 21
    Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Same atmosphere, same strangeness, but more murakami.
  3. 00
    The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami (SqueakyChu)
  4. 00
    Witte Veder by Sanneke van Hassel (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Hoewel ze zelf geen groot fan is van Murakami, deden zijn verhalen me aan haar werk denken. Elk heeft zijn eigen forte, maar in hun beider beste verhalen overvalt je een sfeer van vervreemding in het dagelijks leven.
  5. 11
    Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Anonymous user)

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» See also 115 mentions

English (58)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
i just don't think his short stories are for me unfortunately ( )
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
I love Murakami for his unique way of writing. He's one in a million. You can read a bunch of books without knowing the author's name and you could still spot the Murakami book. I don't enjoy reading short stories so much but this book contains 24 surprises. You don't know what to expect and even if the plot is dull, he writes it in a way that keeps you interested but for sure nothing is what you expect to be. ( )
  Denicbt | Feb 5, 2018 |
This was a bit hit and miss. Some stories I really liked (The Mirror, Tony Takitani, Chance Traveller), while some just seemed strange for the sake of it (Dabchick, A 'Poor Aunt' Story). On the whole I think Murakami's style works better in long form. The weirdness and matter-of-fact style from his other stuff is still there, but without any real plot or characters to invest in it didn't really work for me. ( )
  plumtingz | Dec 14, 2017 |
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. ( )
  BooksCatsEtc | Jun 9, 2017 |
Wonderful, surreal, dreamlike... Murakami excels at the art of the short story; and I'd definitely recommend this book as a good introduction to his work.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - One of the more surrealist works here. A young man has to take his younger cousin to a doctor's appointment - which leads him to recall visiting a friend in the hospital, years before. I know that doesn't sound surreal... but you have to read it.

Birthday Girl - Stuck working on her birthday, a young waitress is called upon to bring the reclusive restaurant owner his dinner. And she's offered a gift, of sorts. What is it? Don't expect to find out.

New York Mining Disaster - A young man who owns no formal suit has to borrow one five times in one year from his friend who likes to go visit zoos during typhoons - each time for a funeral. Then, a woman at a party tells him she killed someone. Then, a vignette related to the title. OK, I gotta admit this one did not make logical sense, unless you look at reading a story in much the same was as one might experience listening to experimental jazz. Which, I suspect, might very well be how Murakami looks at stories, at times.

Aeroplane:Or, How He Talked to Himself as If Reciting Poetry - A man is having an affair with an older,married woman. She tends to cry mysteriously. She tells him he talks to himself, although he's not aware of doing so. More surrealism.

The Mirror - A nightwatchman has a supernatural(?) experience. Can't say too much about it without giving it away, but yes, there's a mirror, and this is hands down one of the best 'ghost stories' I've ever read.

A Folklore for My Generation: A Prehistory of Late-Stage Capitalism - In college, the narrator always thought that two of his classmates seemed to be the most perfect students - and naturally, they seemed to share a perfect relationship. However, when he meets one of those classmates, years later, he hears the story from a different point of view.

Hunting Knife - At a vacation resort, a man on vacation with his wife notices a strange couple of guests staying at the same hotel: an elderly mother and her disabled son. Again, a story that's weirder than you might think.

A Perfect Day for Kangaroos - Sometimes, you should do something immediately, and not wait for the perfect day, because then, it'll be too late. But after all, if it's too late, life goes on.

Dabchick - This one crosses the line from surreal into absurd. It really sounds like one of those dreams that you have that make total sense while you're dreaming it, but after you wake up you realize it was completely ridiculous. I would totally have this dream, too, since I really need a better job right now.

Man-Eating Cats - A couple have an affair. When it's discovered, their marriages end, and they take off to Greece. But sitting pointlessly in Greece isn't necessarily as idyllic as it might seem. And it might end up stranger than you expect.

A 'Poor Aunt' Story - A meta-story about the writing process. Not my favorite in the collection. (But not bad enough to cause a star-docking).

Nausea 1979 - It might be a horror story about a man suffering a curse. Or it might not. There is, indeed, vomiting, either way.

The Seventh Man - "In my case, it was a wave," he said. "There's no way for me to tell, of course, what it will be for each of you. But in my case it just happened to take the form of a gigantic wave. It presented itself to me all of a sudden one day, without warning, in the shape of a giant wave. And it was devastating."
This is the story of that typhoon, and what was lost, and the trauma following. Again, I'm tempted to classify this as a 'ghost story' - and to put it up there with the best of them.

The Year of Spaghetti - A guy cooks spaghetti for a year and it is lonely and depressing. "Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing."

Tony Takitani - The moral of the story is: Don't try to get your wife to give up shopping, 'cause then she'll end up dead; it will be your fault, and what the hell are you going to do with all her clothes then?
You'll be sorry!
OK, maybe that's not actually the moral. It's actually a pretty emotionally harrowing, bizarre, and interesting piece.

The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes - Very similar to 'Dabchick' in tone and feel. Both stories even have bizarre and supernatural birds. And I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Murakami doesn't think much of marketing conferences, and is not going to 'sell out.'

The Ice Man - None of her friends want her to marry the Ice Man. Is he even human? Why does she love him? But she plows on ahead, and it's even her idea to move with him to Antarctic climes. It might not have been a good idea, however.

Crabs - Aww! I think trying strange restaurants in foreign countries is an excellent idea; and one of the most fun parts of travelling! Don't let this story scare you off! (It's pretty effectively scary!) I've got a feeling Murakami got a bad case of food poisoning at some point...

Firefly - This story ended up being part of the novel 'Norwegian Wood.' I think it worked better in the context of the novel than as a short story - so go read the book!

Chance Traveller - Jazz, and coincidences. The torn relationship between a brother and sister is mended by events that seem like more than mere synchronicity.

Hanalei Bay - A Japanese woman's only son is killed by a shark, and she feels driven to travel and see, and understand the surfing community where he died.

Where I'm Likely to Find It - An investigator is hired (?) to look into the disappearance of a woman's husband from the stairwell of his own apartment building. But what is he really investigating?

The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day - A man, strangely obsessed with a one-time statement from his father that every man will only have three women of tru significance to him in his life, finds himself in a relationship with a women who won't tell him what she does for a living. He won't find out until after she has left his life.

A Shinagawa Monkey - A woman begins to have bizarre episodes of forgetting her own name. It's only her name - she doesn't seem to be losing track of anything else. Doctors and psychologists won't help her, as the problem is too odd, and not that severe, by their lights. But then she finds a counselor who can track this down to the source... ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Just as fiction that is purely mundane can be, well, mundane, fiction that is only fantastic is often only dull. Authors such as Paul Auster and Jonathan Carroll are successful precisely because they don't write in one mode or the other, but rather in both, and at the same time. By placing the mundane next to the fantastic these authors are able to show us the beauty of such everyday affairs as coffee or conversation; by placing the fantastic next to the mundane they provide the contrast necessary for readers to discern what makes their fancy other than facile.

No one does this better than Haruki Murakami . . . .
added by dcozy | editThe Japan Times, David Cozy (Dec 3, 2006)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mas, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolla, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, LourdesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed


Dabchick (in McSweeney's 4 - EGGERS) by Haruki Murakami

Birthday Girl (Individual Short Story) by Haruki Murakami

New York Mining Disaster (Individual Short Story) by Haruki Murakami

Aeroplane: Or, How He Talked to Himself as if Reciting (Individual Short Story) by Haruki Murakami

The Mirror (Individual Short Story) by Haruki Murakami

A Folklore for my Generation: A Prehistory of Late-Stage Capitalism (Individual Short Story) by Haruki Murakami

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When I closed my eyes, the scent of the wind wafted up towards me.
Unlike my first friend, who’d killed himself, these friends never had the time to realize that they were dying. For them it was like climbing up a staircase they’d climbed a million times before and suddenly finding a step missing. (New York Mining Disaster)
It strikes me now that most of the girls in my generation--the moderates, you might dub them--whether virgins or not, agonized over the whole issue of sex. They didn't insist that virginity was such a precious thing, nor did they denounce it as some stupid relic of the past. So what actually happened--sorry, but I'm generalizing again--was that they went with the flow. It all depended on the circumstances and the partner. (A Folklore For My Generation: A Pre-history of Late Stage Capitalism)
I had no real impression of her at all. And it's hard to have a bad impression of somebody you have no impression of. (The Year of Spaghetti)
Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing. (The Year of Spaghetti)
Can you imaging how astonished the Italians would be if they knew that what they were exporting in 1971 was really loneliness? (The Year of Spaghetti)
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From the surreal to the mundane, an anthology of short fiction captures a full range of human experience, emotion, and relationship in works that chronicle a chance reunion in Italy, a holiday in Hawaii, and a romantic exile in Greece.

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