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The Strange Library (英語) ハードカバー – 2014/12/2
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'All I did was go to the library to borrow some books'.
On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. This is his first mistake.
Led to a special 'reading room' in a maze under the library by a strange old man, he finds himself imprisoned with only a sheep man, who makes excellent donuts, and a girl, who can talk with her hands, for company. His mother will be worrying why he hasn't returned in time for dinner and the old man seems to have an appetite for eating small boy's brains. How will he escape?商品の説明をすべて表示する
Anyway it was a delightful but short read, and I don't know that it was worth the price. I'd recommend almost any of his other works before this.
As for the story itself, do not be deceived by the quick pace, young protagonist, the illustrations, and simple vocabulary: this is not a children's story, but rather a "fantasy for adults" as the book cover on the Japanese version states. The elements of magical realism are what you'd expect from entering-his-prime Murakami, the themes of detachment, loss, and coming-of-age (as well as the requisite mysterious, pretty young woman) will be familiar to veteran Murakami readers, and the ever-present menace, oppression, and threat of violence foreshadow the darker parts of some of his later works. The combination of cute pictures and whimsical elements with what really is a pretty heavy storyline heightens the dissonance--and, I would argue, the enjoyment--of this unique work. Despite being a quick read, it is one that sticks with you and flits around the subconscious long after you close the cover for the last time ... like a dream ... or perhaps a nightmare.
“But that doesn’t give them the right to saw off the tops of people’s heads and eat their brains. Don’t you think that’s going a bit too far?’”
If you haven’t ever read a story by Murakami before, he’s odd. Very odd. I’m trying my best to review this without giving away any spoilers at all for those who just want to read the story and for those who like to dig for the deeper meanings.
That being said, The Strange Library is a short story presented in a lone book. The book itself is odd, the cover has to be flipped open and has very strange vintage Japanese illustrations to match the story. Everything about the story seems simple and straightforward- not digging deep into characters or plots- adding a richness and dreamlike quality to the story.
But, if you take it to the true Murakami level of reading (we’re talking deep philosophy here) then the reader just might see that the story really revolves around the boy, his pet bird, his mother, and death.
<<<<www.readingbifrost.com>>>> visit blog for original review with details (contains spoiler)
Overall The Strange Library was a fabulously odd short short story wether you’re just looking for a quick read or something you can sink your teeth into. I’d suggest getting a hardcopy instead of an ebook for this one just because the Chip Kidd design does add a lot to the story.
This bite-sized work is great for a Murakami fan looking to devour more of his work, or for a new reader to get a taste of Murakami's world - but it definitely isn't as in depth or satisfying as some of his better known works (Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, Wind Up Bird Chronicles, etc).
The interesting and original thing about this novel comes with the beautiful artwork interspersed throughout the book, that accompanies the story. It's like having pieces of amazing cover art spread throughout the story, and complementing the story as you read it.
So, is it worth the $7.99 the book costs on Kindle? Or the $10 it costs for hard copy? I would say, "yes," at least to me. It took me half an hour to read, but at the same time, reading manga volumes rarely takes much longer, and they cost around the same amount. I really think that if you truly love a genre, you should support it, and I love illustrated novelettes and graphic novels. ****1/2