Tag Archives: Haruki Murakami

Review: Murakami T – The T-Shirts I Love

Murakami T

Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love
By Haruki Murakami
Knopf, 9780593320426, November 2021, 192pp.

The Short of It:

A very different type of Murakami read.

The Rest of It:

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love Haruki Murakami. I love everything he has written. Not because his work is perfection but because his writing is ALWAYS a palate cleanser for me and always so different from what I’ve been reading. Murakami T – The T-shirts I Love delivered, as promised.

Among other things, Murakami collects T-shirts and decided to write about some of his favorite pieces. This might sound as interesting as cleaning the lint trap of your dryer, but let me tell you, it is all very interesting. His musings about why a shirt is memorable range from his admiration over graphic design, the message it’s attempting to convey, or how it captures a certain moment in time, like his many marathon t-shirts. I’ve never been a big graphic -shirt wearer but with each page, I could easily appreciate his observations.

My only criticism is that I read this review copy on my Kindle Paperwhite so the many photos were in B&W which took away from some of the design aspects he was attempting to call out. If you pick up this book, and you should, get a physical copy or read it on on iPad with the Kindle app.

Murakami’s books come every two years or so due to them being translated so I was happy to see this one while I wait for new fiction to drop.

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

Review: First Person Singular – Stories

First Person Singular - Stories

First Person Singular: Stories
By Haruki Murakami | Translated by Philip Gabriel
Knopf, 9780593318072, April 6, 2021, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Fans of Murakami will not be disappointed with his latest collection of stories which touch on everything he’s passionate about (baseball, talking animals, women, and music).

The Rest of It:

As many of you know, I am crazy for Murakami’s writing and was once an ambassador for one of his books which earned me two signed copies. They humbly sit on a special shelf in my loft and whenever I hear of a new book coming out, I am filled with anticipation and forced to remain patient as it often takes two years for his works to be translated.

When I heard about this collection of stories I knew I had to find a copy and the publisher was kind enough to send me a review copy. That said, are you a short story person? Usually, I am not. I’ve read some good collections but I will always choose a novel over short stories. The one thing I can say about Murakami is that sometimes his short works become novels so I pay special attention to his stories when they come out.

First Person Singular is an accurate representation of his writing style. I always struggle to find the right words to describe his writing but his stories always touch on isolation and his protagonists usually are everyday guys who dress and live simply. They are often observers of people, going about their lives. There is a simplicity to this but also a complexity when you think about how complex human beings can be.

His characters often just sidle up to a bar and have conversations with strange people, usually women. This is the case in the story which provides the title for the book, First Person Singular. What appears to be innocent chit chat suddenly becomes an accusation of something he’s done in the past. What has he done? Three years was so long ago.

In Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey, a man is enjoying a beer with a talking monkey. While chatting with this monkey, the monkey confesses that he’s stolen names of the women he’s loved. It’s such a strange, personal thing to take from a person. Can you really love someone so much that their identity is taken away from them? Yes.

One of my favorite stories, The Yakult Swallows, appears to be auto-biographical and touches on Murakami’s love of baseball. He talks about his father and how they used to enjoy a good ball game. His love for the field itself really shines in this one. He puts you right in the stands.

The thing that I love most about Murakami is his love for music. All of his novels include music in some way and many of his books have playlists on Spotify to enjoy while reading his books. In this collection, he includes a story titled, Carnaval. This story centers around Schumann’s Carnaval and while reading it I had to listen to it, which was easy enough to do and set the mood quite nicely.

Murakami’s stories can be odd but I find them to be so refreshing. I often refer to them as “palate” cleansers. They are like nothing I’ve read before and always border on magical realism and the mundane. You would not think the two could live successfully in a book but they do quite nicely when Murakami is at the helm. Weird and wonderful are words I use a lot to describe his writing too. If you know, you know but if you aren’t familiar with him, give him a try. I’ve reviewed nearly everything he’s written. My favorites can be found below and the links go directly to my review:

As for this collection, it’s a win. You’ll be thinking about these stories long after reading the last one.

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