Updates and a bit of Murakami

Sorry folks for the lack of book review this week because I have been struck by this mega flu bug that has left me crippled in bed for many days. I am currently still recovering from the illness and have been unable to keep up with the comments left by many kind readers, so do give me some time to play catch up when I am feeling much better.

But last week, I was pretty excited to learn that the English translation of Haruki Murakami’s latest book “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage” has finally hit the stores! I cannot wait to read this bestseller, with a million copies flying off the shelves a month after its release in Japan. The hardest part though is to resist perusing all the online reviews before actually reading it myself except for THIS article from The Atlantic that hits spot on with regards to the Murakami appeal in spite of his formulaic approach to his novels.

Murakami writes genre fiction—formulaic, conventional, with an emphasis on plot. But it is a genre that he has invented himself, drawing elements from fantasy, noir, horror, sci-fi, and the genre we call “literary fiction.” The other ingredient, which we tend to think of as antithetical to genre fiction, is a hostility to tidy resolution.

Ending off with this post with a lovely Murakami bingo game that succinctly summarizes the typical recurrent themes found in most Murakami books. This drawn by LA-based comic artist Hunter Nesbitt and a poster of this can be bought HERE.

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19 thoughts on “Updates and a bit of Murakami

  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki was the first Murakami I read. Looking at the Bingo card I’m surprised at how many themes or plot devices I recognize from the one book!

    I think the awkwardness of the language probably does have to do with the skill of the translator and the fact that there are sometimes just no way of translating one language to another accurately. What a luxury to be able to read these books in their original language.

    I hope you feel better soon and that you enjoy this book!

    1. Hahaha…if you were to venture into other Murakami books, I’m sure you’ll soon be able to tick off, some more than others, almost all the themes on that bingo card!

  2. I read that Atlantic article and I thought it was spot on. I’m currently reading ‘Colorless Tsukuru’ and even before reading that Atlantic article I noticed Murakami’s awkward sentences. I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices his bad writing sometimes.

    1. I wonder if his awkward sentences is because he intentionally wrote as such, or due to meanings that were lost as a result of translations from Japanese to English?

      1. I was also thinking that it might be the translator’s fault, but I don’t think that’s possible. And if it was intentional, I don’t see the relevance of it to the plot of the novel.

      2. Coincidentally, Murakami himself responded to the same doubts we had about translations of his books into English in THIS recent interview at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival:

        “Reader: Given much of his storytelling relies on nuance and subtlety, I’d like to know what he thinks readers who experience his novels in translation lose by not reading in the original Japanese language.

        Murakami: I can read the books in English. Not in French, Russian, German or others. But when an English translation is complete, they send me the manuscript. When I read it, it’s fine for me! I don’t know what’s going to happen next! My point is that if I enjoyed it, the translation is good. So you can relax! . Sometimes I find mistakes and I call the translator. But three or four things in a book, maybe.”

    1. Oooooo… you’ve already read the book! I shall soon find out for myself which of these themes found on the bingo board appeared in the latest book

  3. I had no idea that Murakami had another book! I was so surprised to see this edition all over my local bookstore. I can’t wait to read it. I hope you feel better lovely! flus are the worst

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words… I’m trying to rest more to recover from that nasty bug I’ve caught (:

    1. I’m super excited to read the book too~ I’ve received the U.S. cover version and found it absolutely stunning!

      1. No worries, I’m happy to answer any questions. Bookstores here stock both U.S. and U.K. covers for this book since they do expect it to be a bestseller.

      2. The U.S. cover is designed in the shape of a palm, and each finger represents the color of Tsukuru friends. I’ve posted a picture of it on Twitter (HERE) if you wanna have a look at it.

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