first person singular by murakami

First Person Singular, Short Stories Review

First Person Singular, a collection of short stories by author Haruki Murakami

A personal goal of mine is to eventually read all of Murakami’s books, there are a lot of them. 1Q84 and The Wind Up Bird Chronicles are two of my all time favorite books. Killing Commendatore was a masterpiece as well. Even his lesser (in my opinion) books have strong merit and creativity. I will read anything he puts out because it is bound to be original and highly creative at the very least.

First Person Singular is a collection of short stories but it is definitely not his strongest work. The stories are all told in the first person, clearly, and are written as recollections of memories told to the reader. There are recurring themes of philosophical mysteries that cannot be answered. Not having answers or satisfying conclusions to these stories will just have to be accepted.

Murakami, although highly prolific, is not perfect and this book highlights one of his biggest detractions. He can’t seem to write a book without a character having an affair with an older, married woman. He fetishizes this demographic in an odd way that runs through pretty much everything he’s ever written, well, at least the ones I’ve rea. There is a whole story about it in this collection and I want to tell him to cool it.

The rest of the stories range from boring to confusing but many still maintain intrigue and curiosity. Regardless of the content, his stories are always beautifully written. There is a reason Murakami is so highly regarded in the literary world.

I think I may just not be the audience for many of these stories. One particularly invovles a lot of poems about baseball and I just do not care for either of those things. But perhaps a literary fan of the sport would feel differently. I never expect every single short story in a book to resonate with me. That would be asking for quite a lot.

Short story collections are great ways to cast a broad net and see who you can pull in. Murakami already caught me with his much longer tomes, he doesn’t need me here. Perhaps First Person Singular will be attractive bait to a new reader though, someone who wouldn’t have found him otherwise.

First Person Singular was not for me but that is not to say it isn’t for someone else. Might as well still give it a try.

3/5 mokeys 🐒🐒🐒

For more Murakami check out Killing Commendatore

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Buy it here: First Person Singular: Stories

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