Tag Archives: Short Stories

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.

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Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
By Tim O’Brien
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780547391175, March 2010, 233pp.

The Short of It:

When it comes to storytelling, memory alone can be unreliable.

The Rest of It:

From Indiebound:

Depicting the men of Alpha Company Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O Brien, who survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three the stories in The Things They Carried opened our eyes to the nature of war in a way we will never forget.

At times, this collection felt very real to me. O’Brien served in Vietnam so the level of detail included in each story really gives you a sense of what it was like there, but there are also some implausible things that take place that remind you that it is indeed a work of fiction. Nevertheless, as a book club read it was an interesting book to discuss.

Memory. How important it is in telling stories like these? Does it really matter if the stories were based on actual events? In this case, no. If O’Brien’s purpose was to give us an idea of what it was like to be on the lines, then I’d say that the author succeeded. The details are grisly and O’Brien doesn’t hold back when sharing the cruel side of human nature. A couple of the stories feature animal cruelty that nearly all of us had a tough time getting through. Overall, the horrors of war were made very clear.

I do not enjoy war stories (at all) but I did find this book to be very readable and it was an excellent book to discuss with a group.

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