The Strange Library
By Haruki Murakami, Translater, Ted Goossen
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385354301, 96pp.)
The Short of It:
An experience, more than anything else.
The Rest of It:
In 2014, Murakami fans were graced with not one new book, but two! The Strange Library is really a novella, but quite different from anything he’s done before as far as format. The story itself is strange, which is a word I use a lot when describing Murakami’s stories, but it’s strange and mysterious in a good way.
The story is about a boy, imprisoned in a library. Not a normal library. A (wait for it) STRANGE library. This one has winding corridors, hidden rooms and a really strange guy dressed up like a sheep. While reading this part, I could not help but be reminded of another book by Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase. Ah, such memories.
The book comes shrink-wrapped and once opened, you must fold out flaps to get to its contents. It’s a strange design but kind of neat at the same time. The book is short (96 pages) and contains a lot of graphics to support the story visually. The pages are thick, very substantial. While reading, you feel as if you are holding something really special. I’m not sure you’d have the same feeling while reading an ebook version or listening to it on audio. Chip Kidd designed the book. He’s done some work for Murakami before. I really like what he does. If you are at all interested in book design, check out his Ted Talk. He’s quite a character!
Back to the book.
As a Murakami, there are a lot of familiar elements. If you handed this story to me on plain paper and left the author’s name off of it, I’d still be able to tell who wrote it but it’s just a small taste of what he can do. I liked the story a lot but I wanted to spend more time with it. I ripped that puppy open and before I knew it, the story was over.
It. Was. Too. Brief.
That is my one criticism.
But, it looks lovely on my shelf. Just lovely. Have you read it or tried Murakami yet? Because I am going to keep asking until you do. You know that, right?
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