Haruki Murakami

You’ll remember from my last post that I am midway through the novel Norwegian Wood by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami.  This is the first novel I’ve read by him, and I suppose I shouldn’t say that too loudly, as he is tipped by some to be the next Nobel Prize winner.  Where have I been?

Now I read that he is set to “take the West by storm” with a 1000-page book bound as a trilogy entitled 1Q84.  Here’s the link to the article; I am definitely going to keep my eye on this one.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/10/haruki-murakami-trilogy-1q84

And something else about Murakami that makes me want to get to know him better:  he’s a marathon runner!

Where in the WHIRL Have I Been???

I love you all–thanks for the flood of correspondence wondering where I’ve been–it’s so nice to feel loved and missed!  I have been away on a literary mission (!) and as soon as I get my photos downloaded, or is it uploaded?, I will post a couple and blog more about my adventure.

Have I piqued your curiosity?

For today, though, I am blogging about some books that are on my side table.  These are books that I am in the midst of reading, but I’ve put them down because I knew at a certain point in each book that they would not work for my Literary Masters book groups and literary salons.  However, these are books that I do intend to finish!  We can call it a Mid-way WHIRL, if you like, or an In-Progress WHIRL:

First off, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  My brother, yes–the one who disdains used books, is a fan of Japanese literature, and he introduced me to Kenzaburo Oe, the author of A Personal Matter, which I reviewed here.  Murakami is the author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which you may have read; I never have.  I decided to start with Norwegian Wood on my brother’s advice, and I…like it…I don’t love it, but I do like it and I am willing to persevere with a rather slowish read.  I am not, to be fair, very far into the novel.  So far I think I’ve met the key players, although not a tremendous amount of action has taken place.  The back of the book describes it as:

“A magnificent blending of the music, mood, and the ethos that was the sixties with the story of one college student’s romantic coming of age, Norwegian Wood brilliantly recaptures a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.”

Umm…okay.  I hope to finish this novel to see why, again stated on the back of my book, “This stunning and elegiac novel propelled Hauki Murakami into the forefront of the literary scene…”

When I do, I will review it at length.  Stay tuned!

Next, Tyrant Memory, by Horacio Castellanos Moya.  You’ll remember that I became an instant fan of this author when I read his novel, Senselessness.  I eagerly anticipated his new book, and was so impatient, I bought it instead of waiting for a library copy!  Although I am thoroughly enjoying it, I don’t think it measures up to Moya’s previous work–but, to be fair, I have not yet finished reading it, so stay tuned…

It follows a certain family, their trials and tribulations, in El Salvador in 1944 during the month between an attempted coup and a general strike that forced out the dictator Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez.  Staggering between laugh-out-loud hilarity and close-your-eyes horror, this novel is a very compelling read.  I just didn’t think I could subject my book groups and literary salons to it, though.

Finally, for today, The Counterlife by Philip Roth.  Many consider this to be his best work, so I was excited to read it.  I am a fan of Roth, although I know a lot of women have difficulty reading his work.  I’ve said before, as you know, that one of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Portnoy’s Complaint, which I read many, many years ago.

I am enjoying The Counterlife, and I can see why it is so highly regarded, but I have to admit, I was getting kind of bogged down in the second section, after loving the first…and I imagined my Literary Masters members getting bogged down also.  The idea of the novel is a character who dies in the first section, but then who isn’t dead in the next.  From the little I’ve read, I’m surmising that we are delving into the area of parallel universes, or the lives we could have, would have, should have lived.  Something I find very interesting, so I do hope to finish this book.  Again, stay tuned!

Right, now that I am back turning pages and pressing keys, I hope to be posting much more frequently than I did during this past month.  What about all of you, though?  What Have YOU Been Reading Lately???