May. 29th, 2009

norwegianwood: (Japan-Geisha)
First of all, I have to point out that one of the stories in this book, Haruki Murakami's Birthday Girl, is available for download! I have uploaded it here, and I really hope you give it a try, because it's quite short so a very quick read, but it's really worth it! And now, on to the review!

Title: Birthday Stories
Author: Haruki Murakami
Year: 2002
Read on: 28/05/09
Rating: ★★★★☆

My thoughts: I've never really liked books that are collections of short stories, but this one will have to be the exception. As a start, it was great to have Murakami's introduction to every story, because it's not pretentious at all but it sort of gives a tone to the book and an idea on how to interpret each story, what to expect from it, and what is so special about it :) I have to say, I love the idea of having a collection of Birthday stories, because it's such a delicate subject. Everyone remembers most importan birhdays we've had, but still we all regard them in a different way. In general, we can end up not wanting to do anything, or organizing something big and then ended up being deluded because it didn't go as well as we thought, or having certain expectations in general. So this collection touches themes like expectations, dreams, future, past, and in general, ageing and getting old. I loved most stories, but my favourites will have to be these:

The Birthday Present by Andrea Lee: I don't know if I loved it so much because it was set in Italy and the author herself is so interesting, but I just loved the idea of it. It's apparently a very simple story, but it has so many layers and really manages to describe the author's way of seeing relationships. The very idea of the subject is amazing!

The Moor by Russell Banks: The perfect start to this collection. This story really moved me, and i will remember it for a long time :) The style is once again very simple and it represents everything I love about unexpected encounters :) Very good story!

The Birthday Cake by Daniel Lyons: This story is very short but has a great twist in the end! It's a great choice!

The Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami: Of course, my absolute favourite of the collection! I love the way he doesn't explain what the girl's wish was in the end and it starts from such an uneventful Birthday to end up being very different :) The ending is just brilliant, and it is a mixture of everyday routine and supernatural/magical events, all in only 10 pages. I love this man!

August 2009

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