Cover image for The strange library
Title:
The strange library
Author:
Murakami, Haruki, 1949- author.
Uniform Title:
Fushigi na toshokan. English
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Summary:
In a fantastical illustrated short novel, three people imprisoned in a nightmarish library plot their escape.
General Note:
Cover title.

Translation of: Fushigi na toshokan.

"107."

Front cover consists of overlapping folded cardboard flaps that extend from the top and bottom of the back cover.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780385354301
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami--a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library.

A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination.


Author Notes

Haruki Murakami was born on January 12, 1949 in Kyoto, Japan and studied at Tokyo's Waseda University. He opened a coffeehouse/jazz bar in the capital called Peter Cat with his wife. He became a full-time author following the publication of his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, in 1979.

He writes both fiction and non-fiction works. His fiction works include Norwegian Wood, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, The Strange Library, and Men Without Women. Several of his stories have been adapted for the stage and as films. His nonfiction works include What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. He has received numerous literary awards including the Franz Kafka Prize for Kafka on the Shore, the Yomiuri Prize for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and the Jerusalem Prize. He has translated into Japanese literature written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, Truman Capote, John Irving, and Paul Theroux.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Murakami's novels are odd, to be sure, but this short work, hot on the heels of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2014), compresses those oddities into one macabre fairy tale-like story. A boy seeks out a book at the city library, only to be trapped there by a cruel old man and forced to read for days, stuffing knowledge into his brain, which the old man intends to slurp up. Whereas in longer Murakami novels, each strange scene is at least moored to some semblance of reality, this short work drifts apart, its eerie, dreamlike plot occurring completely within the walls of the labyrinthine prison beneath the library. Each object and character begins to take on a deeply symbolic quality, and, together with the intermittent full-page illustrations that merely suggest a connection to the story, the overall effect is unsettling yet captivating. This confounding work will probably not have as broad an appeal as his other novels, but fans of Murakami's weirdness, particularly his early books, will likely adore this distillation.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this short, dreamy fable by Japanese fantasist Murakami, a young student describes his arrival at an odd Tokyo library. For no apparent reason, he is sent to the ancient, abrasive librarian, who leads him through an underground labyrinth of rooms and passages. On this curious journey the unnamed student is confronted by a man wearing a sheepskin, a large furious green-eyed dog, and a young woman who silently provides him with delicious, freshly baked doughnuts. Eventually he discovers the librarian's sinister, seemingly inescapable plan. The novella has its share of whimsy, which reader Heybourne conveys along with the student's youthful naïveté. Eventually this is replaced by a mood of confusion and anxiety, as the librarian croakily describes the protagonist's fate. This audio presentation perfectly captures the perplexing, nightmarish, and beguiling atmosphere of Murakami's fiction, but whether that is enough to compensate for the loss of the print edition's brilliant full-page designs by Chip Kidd is a decision the buyer will have to make. A Knopf hardcover. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Debuting mere months after his latest instant best seller, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, this fable is a surprise addition to Murakami's addictive oeuvre. After returning his library books, a boy is sent to Room 107 in search of other titles. There he's trapped by a bald old librarian, guarded by a Sheep Man, fed by a voiceless girl, and forced to memorize "three fat books" about the Ottoman tax system for insidious purposes. How will the boy get home to his mother (and pet starling) in time for dinner? VERDICT This novel is just 96 pages, with 32 of those illustrations curated and created by designer Chip Kidd. The artwork is intriguing, mysterious, and untranslated (hints: that's "Meiji Milk Chocolate" in Chapter 13 and an upside-down labeled planet zoom-out in Chapter 17). New audiences could read this as just another provocative, surreal tale, but Murakami fans will obsessively catalog the many multilayered references to previous titles, from the obvious Sheep Man (Trilogy of the Rat), labyrinthine other worlds (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World), silently communicative women (After Dark) to, of course, librarians (Kafka on the Shore), plus much more. A mesmerizing Strange Library indeed. [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

(1) The library was even more hushed than usual. My new leather shoes clacked against the gray linoleum. Their hard, dry sound was unlike my normal footsteps. Every time I get new shoes, it takes me a while to get used to their noise. A woman I'd never seen before was sitting at the circulation desk, reading a thick book. It was extraordinarily wide. She looked as if she were reading the right-hand page with her right eye, and the left-hand page with her left. "Excuse me," I said. She slammed the book down on her desk and peered up at me. "I came to return these," I said, placing the books I was carrying on the counter. One was titled How to Build a Submarine , the other Memoirs of a Shepherd . The librarian flipped their front covers back to check the due date. They weren't overdue. I'm always on time, and I never hand things in late. That's the way my mother taught me. Shepherds are the same. If they don't stick to their schedule, the sheep go completely bananas. The librarian stamped "Returned" on the card with a flourish and resumed her reading. "I'm looking for some books, too," I said. "Turn right at the bottom of the stairs," she replied without looking up. "Go straight down the corridor to Room 107." Excerpted from The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami, Ted Goossen All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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