First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami released | Sunday Observer

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami released

18 April, 2021

Genre – Fiction
Translator - Philip Gabriel
Publisher - Harvill Secker

First Person Singular, a short story collection by internationally best selling post modern writer Haruki Murakami was released recently. There are eight stories in the book and they are told in the first person, with each narrator a man in late middle age who shares interests, such as jazz and baseball, with his author. Only one narrator is given a name: “Haruki Murakami”.

The women in the book are remarkably less complex, less individual, than the men, existing primarily as a pretext for the male characters to find out or fail to find out, about themselves. According to the critic David Hayden, “The playfulness with the identity of the narrator might be more rewarding, were it not for the stretches of tepid, underpowered writing. The conversational style can be slack and cliched, speckled with reflections on philosophical questions about ageing, identity, memory and what it is to know oneself”.

He also says, after the short story “Spinning Wheels”, “in a strange act of literary haunting, Murakami’s narrative seems to gather a previously absent depth and power. The language becomes much more acute and vivid, before turning back to the memory of ‘a lovely girl … the hem of her skirt fluttering’, whom the narrator met once in high school carrying a Beatles album”.

“The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection”, “With the Beatles”, “Spinning Wheels”, “Carnaval” are some of the best stories in this collection. Murakami’s books became best sellers and have been translated into more than 50 languages and he has received many honours, including the Franz Kafka Prize.