Tag Archives: Book Review

Review: Novelist as a Vocation

Novelist as a Vocation

Novelist as a Vocation
By Haruki Murakami
Translated by Philip Gabriel & Ted Goossen
Knopf, 9780451494641, November2022, 224pp.

The Short of It:

Fans of Murakami will enjoy this personal look at writing from his point of view.

The Rest of It:

If you’ve been around me for awhile then you know how much I love Murakami. I wait around, endlessly for new books to be translated and when they are, I have been known to beg and plead for a review copy. This was no exception.

Novelist as a Vocation is a collection of short essays about how he came to be a novelist. It touches on process but it’s more about the internal dialogue he had with himself about becoming a writer. One day, he just decided he was going to write a novel. He didn’t feel all that equipped to do so but he was a dedicated reader, and knew what he liked to read and felt that he had stories to tell. That’s it.

Some of his earlier works were not a big hit, at first. His short fiction pieces that were published in the New York Times is what made his name known in literary circles and from there, his fan base grew. His odd characters and fantastical story elements have found a place in my heart His writing is what I call a “palate cleanser”.  I read all types of books but when I need a reset, I reach for Murakami. I often have to settle for a re-read since the translation process usually means books are about 3-4 years apart.

I was surprised at how much he shares in this new book. He is usually pretty private. An everyday guy, doing everyday things, who just happens to be an award winning author but he lets us in with this one. As readers we see his insecurities at play. I do believe that being vulnerable is what makes his stories so unique.  His imagination and character development have no boundaries. I love this about him.

If you are curious about Murakami and have never read one of his novels, pick up Kafka on the Shore or The Windup Bird Chronicle. These two books will give you a very good idea of his writing style. After that, you will want to know more about him as a novelist. That’s where Novelist as a Vocation comes in. Recommend.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Fairy Tale
By Stephen King
Scribner, 9781668002179, September 2022, 608pp.

The Short of It:

My prediction is that lovers of fantasy will absolutely love Fairy Tale. However, that is not me. 

The Rest of It:

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours. ` Indiebound

Although the fantasy elements didn’t win me over, the main character and dog did. Charlie Reade is probably right up there with my favorite King characters. And Radar, his aging canine sidekick, made me like this book even though the fantasy parts didn’t score any  points with me. The one thing that is always true, is that King is a heck of a storyteller. He pulls me right in and I keep drinking his Kool-aid. Willingly. 

While Charlie is caring for his injured neighbor, he stumbles across a mysterious shed, hears some strange sounds and becomes all too aware of how Radar reacts to those noises. Who is in that shed? What is in that shed and what could his neighbor Mr. Bowditch be hiding?

I may be the only reader to notice this but I found some similarities between Fairy Tale and Murakami’s Killing Commendatore and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. At one point Fairy Tale felt very familiar to me and yet it wasn’t at all what I expected from King. It was at this point that I began to skim a little. It’s a chunk of a book and it felt a tad repetitive but I also wanted to finish it. 

Have you read it? What are  your thoughts? King fans might be surprised by this one but fans of fantasy might find a new favorite in Fairy Tale

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.