Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Review: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

I posted this picture before in my entry on how I gushed that I finally bought my first Murakami. And now, I'll say it again... this is such a gem. I impulsively bought this when my mother asked me to take any one book that I like at National Book Store. I am a very discrimating reader, and a little judgemental about book covers, but  I decided to pick it anyway. This was my first look at Murakami, and it didn't disappoint me -  it was everything I hoped for and more. 

Haruki Murakami is a literary genius (>.<) from Japan who wrote some of the most beautifully written novels and stories of his generation. His trademark could easily be spotted, from the first words to the last. Post-modern and surreal - that's how i could generally describe his writing... and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (a collection of 24-short stories uniquely written) is no exception. 

Most often than not, when I read a work of any widely-known author, I somehow felt intimidated. But after finishing the first story in this collection, the title story 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman', I found myself lost in words. The story was simple, yet it left a very morbid feel to me or something, that I even dedicated a review post for this because of how utterly bewildered I am. Haha, I guess it's just the shock factor playing. 

At first, I intended to post a review for each short story that I read in this collection... But I found myself reading the next one after another without pause. And at some point, I think I became addicted to his writing. >.< When I'm reading every story in this collection, it almost felt like I am dreaming. It's like being in a different place... you seem alienated, but somehow, you liked it. The element of the ridiculous, or the painful effect of one situation. It left me feeling surprised, confused, or even hurt without knowing it. Reading these stories makes my emotions fluctuate, really. I usually read it before I go to sleep to relax my mind, or right when I wake up during the wee hours between being sleepy and waking up alert. Or even when I was so caught up studying, I need to grab it to somehow free my mind from the pressure. And before I knew it, I finished it in a breeze.

Almost everything left an impression to me. But out of everything else, some did leave a mark that make me grab it again and read the passages that I like:
:: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; Birthday Girl; A Folklore for my Generation: A Pre-History of Late-Stage Capitalism; A 'Poor Aunt' Story; The Ice Man; Firefly; Chance Traveler; The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Everyday; A Shinagawa Monkey

Ehem. Excuse my eye bags. >.<

I found myself thinking about A Folklore for my Generation most often than any of the stories in this collection for some reason. I was very intrigued with the guy's view on having sex - pre-marital sex to be exact He put it as if it was some vital thing required in a high school relationship. Like it was some kind of a way to make him complete and for them to understand each other more. It's a sense of being one, physically... and he felt incomplete. Well, I was quite surprised... and it's the first time I've ever read a guy's perspective regarding this in the relationship. Commonly, in novels I've read with love scenes, they just happen. No explanations. It was as if they both know that it is meant to happen. No underlying reasons, besides 1) they love/like each other, 2) they're attracted to each other, 3) mainly lust overpowering them, or 4) they just want it to happen. So I was really taken back when I encountered a character where making love means more to him than the 4 reasons I've mentioned earlier. (At least, that's what it appears to me.)

Another are the questions posed to me by Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and Firefly, which, I discovered, happens to have a good deal of answer and explanation when I buy Norweigan Wood in the near future. It's another book written by Haruki Murakami which established him as a literary superstar in his homeland. Elements of the the two stories are incorporated in the said novel, and Firefly is actually an excerpt of this one.

Well, I unconsciously made this post sooo long. I just love this book to it's core, so it's probably my fan heart talking. This is highly recommended. I'll probably be having this in my bedside book stack to read whenever i found myself yearning for it. Murakami is a genius, and I found myself loving him as an author. I'll probably be saving (if not buying them on impulse >.<) for his other books this 2012. :))


  1. Hello! I'm Jenny of the bookish mind book blog. I'm not sure if you could still remember me, but you commented on my book blog 3 years ago (wow! Time really flies :-D) and it just happened that I took a vacation in book blogging for some time. I just recently reactivated my book blog. So now, I'm connecting with your awesome book blog..yey!!!

    I am currently reading my first Haruki Murakami book...the one on this post. I'm reading a lot of good reviews about his books and finally I am reading one of them. I'm glad you also liked the book, "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" ^^

    Hope to read more of your posts!

  2. Hi Jenny! Sorry for the very, very late reply. Anyway, I'm glad you're trying out Murakami. I hope it didn't disappoint. Let me know if you want to talk about it. Thanks for dropping by. :)


Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear from you -- so don't think twice, just comment below and let's talk! If you're feeling like it, you could also link up and I'll make sure to visit your site if you have one. Much love, ~ R. :)


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