Title: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Original Writer (Japanese) : Haruki Murakami
Translated to English by: Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel
Published in English: 2006
Genre: Fiction, short stories
My Rating: 2 on 5
I feel writing a short story is much harder than writing a full-fledged novel. The writer has to tell a story, etch his characters, convey his emotions and opinions in a limited number of words. I am in awe of writers who are great at short stories. I picked up Murakami’s short story collection with a lot of expectation, hoping that someone who can write about such a surreal atmosphere in After Dark, he can definitely write great short stories.
Most of the stories (if not all) have this element of being surreal, out of the world, some implausible element which adds to the mystery of the book. It could be the blind willows or the gigantic wave which gobbles up a boy, there is one such element which makes you wonder what this is all about. I really liked some of the short stories, but for the most part, I found the story either confusing or making me wonder ‘Is that it? That is the end?’ or simply disappointing.
I found the stories to be too short, for my taste. By the time the author sets a tone and you get to know the character, the story ends leaving you hanging in mid-air. I wish Murakami had aimed for slightly longer stories – in short encapsulating a whole novel in a short story. I find Archer’s earlier collections like A Twist in the Tale or Alice Munro’s Runaway to be perfect examples of what I am referring to. The stories are long enough for the writer to etch stronger characters and for the reader to get into the story and when it ends, it is a good ending with both the writer and the reader having complete satisfaction of doing something worthwhile.