Tag Archives: Japanese Literature

Review & Tour: Rainbirds

Rainbirds

Rainbirds
By Clarissa Goenawan
Soho Press, 9781616958558, March 2018, 336pp.

The Short of It:

Readers of Haruki Murakami will absolutely love Rainbirds. It has all the elements that I enjoy in Japanese literature yet still presents its own unique voice.

The Rest of It:

Ren Ishida’s sister has been murdered. The situation surrounding her death is rather mysterious. Not a lot is known and since Ren and his sister haven’t seen each other recently, he’s not able to contribute any valuable information towards the investigation. Nonetheless,  he feels compelled to visit the place of her death and to perhaps retrieve her belongings with the hope of finding some key piece of evidence.

In the process, he finds himself living in her old room and teaching in her previous teaching position. He meets a woman who does not speak, a young student who has a mysterious way of showing up every time he thinks of her, a childhood friend he hasn’t seen in years and he is continually visited in his dreams by a young girl in pigtails. Who is she? What is she trying to tell him? Does she know something about his sister’s death?

As a Murakami fan, I noted mentions of ears, music, food and cats. Yep, they are all here.

I LOVED Rainbirds. It’s one of those quiet, introspective reads that I adore. It’s thoughtful, very much a page-turner and the story is fluid and seamless. I highly recommend it.

Clarissa Goenawan

For more information on the author, click here.

TLC Book Tours

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

Advertisements

Review: Men Without Women (Stories)

Men Without Women

Men Without Women
By Haruki Murakami, Translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780451494627, May 9, 2017, 240pp.

The Short of It:

A collection of stories that embody everything you love about Murakami.

The Rest of It:

Murakami’s new book came out in Japan not long ago but those of us in the US must wait for the translation before we can eagerly dive in.  Somehow, the Murakami Gods heard our cries and delivered to us a “new” story collection to tide us over.

However, it’s not all new.

One story in particular, which also happened to be my favorite, previously appeared in The New Yorker. As I was reading Scheherazade,  it was vaguely familiar to me but you know what, it really didn’t matter that I had read it before because every time I pick up Murakami’s work, there’s always something new to discover.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a bookstore and there is a finely curated shelf full of recommendations? That’s how I feel about this collection. I don’t know how much input he actually had in putting these stories together, but they all complement one another and include everything you love about Murakami. The angst, the food talk, the weird little quirks and it was just good to get this little taste of Murakami before the big release of his new book. This collection centers on men and their relationships with women. Some of the stories are more complex than others but all of them leave you pondering relationships in general.

Murakami is what I recommend any time someone says they are in a reading rut and I think many of you have read some of his books based on my eternal gushing. BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T,  you must. I can’t accurately describe the feeling I get when I read one of his books but there’s this sense of one-ness that comes over me and suddenly nothing matters but the story in front of me.

Read this collection and then read Killing Commendatore when it comes out. No details on the US release as of yet.

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