March 31st, 2009

raining totoro

Short Stories by Murakami Haruki

Title: 蛍・納屋を焼く・その他の短編 Hotaru・Naya wo Yaku・Sono Ta no Tanpen
Author: 村上春樹 Murakami Haruki
Reading level: High school
My rating: 4.5 for 納屋を焼く, 2 for 躍る小人

I read 蛍 a long time ago for a Japanese class (before I had ever heard of Murakami Haruki), and later I read it again when I picked up this book. It is actually the first part of ノルウェーの森, which I had read in English in the interim. That was a few years ago and I don't really remember it well enough to write a review.

However, I've had a few friends recommend 納屋を焼く and decided to finally actually read it. I loved it! A very well-written suspense story. I didn't have to look up any vocabulary, as it was all comparatively simple. Encouraged, I plowed onwards to 躍る小人, which was also a very simple read - I ended up having to look up only one word in the whole story. However, I was unpleasantly surprised by the ending of the story, which was pretty much just a disgusting cop-out of a conclusion. So I'm not sticking around for the other two stories in the book, at least not for a while.

I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I'm partway through a dense science-y book about vegetarianism (ベジタリアンの医学 by 蒲原聖可 Kamohara Seika), and I also feel like maybe I should temper the short fiction with newspaper articles, so I might wait a bit before I start a new book.