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Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

The Blurb

I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone.

Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humour that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.

‘Devotees will find plenty of signature Murakami here.’ - The Guardian

Born in Kyoto, Haruki Murakami is a leading light of Japanese fiction best known for his inventive and visually unique, magic realist fiction. His best known works include: A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, Dance Dance Dance, South of the Border, West of the Sun, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and Wind/Pinball. He has also written several volumes of non-fiction, amongst them his meditation on writing and running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing ISBN: 9781911215370 Number of pages: 240 Weight: 379 g Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 25 mm

About Haruki Murakami


in Kyoto, Japan

January 12, 1949



Fiction, Surrealism, Magical Realism

Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at: Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences. Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened the coffeehouse 'Peter Cat' which was a jazz bar in the evening in Kokubunji, Tokyo with his wife. Many of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: The Thieving Magpie (after Rossini's opera), Bird as Prophet (after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as The Prophet Bird), and The Bird-Catcher (a character in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute). Some of his novels take their titles from songs: Dance, Dance, Dance (after The Dells' song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune), Norwegian Wood(after The Beatles' song) and South of the Border, West of the Sun (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).

My Review

Oh, my goodness, I have just read the purest of prose, the purest of art. This book was given to me as a Christmas present. It was quite a detour from my usual genre of fiction, but a journey that has left me feeling my mind has been cleansed. Most of my reading answers questions. The work of Murakami, poses questions. Not just questions about the seven short stories within the book, but questions about myself, the experiences I have had and the world around me that I have very much taken for granted.

The last of the seven stories is entitled 'Men Without Women' which is not what the title may suggest. It's about men who have loved and lost. It's about loneliness. Philosophical maybe, but an easy read to digest. There is plenty of humour between the lines. 5 stars from me. How could it be any less?

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