May 27, 2015

Book Review: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami, paperback published December 2, 2014 by Knopf.
Genre: fiction
Source: library book
First sentence:The library was even more hushed than usual.
Last sentences:About how it feels to be alone, and the depth of the darkness surrounding me. Darkness as pitch black as the night of the new moon.
My comments: In very large print, The Strange Library has the look of a children's book with full page illustrations, and only 96 pages. It has the quality of a dream, of a young man's fears and longings. This young man becomes imprisoned in the bowels of a large city library by the Old Man, tasked with memorizing three long books on the Ottoman Empire before he can be released, but at the same time he is served excellent food by a beautiful young girl and befriended by his jailer, the Sheep Man.

Though the young man is helped to escape by the girl and the Sheep Man, both have disappeared, but so have his pet starling at home, and his new leather shoes. This makes him doubt that the experience was only a dream. His mother dies at the end and the young man's soaring imagination also seems to disappear, leaving him in a darkness similar to the room he was imprisoned in, in the library.

The only meaning I can get out of the book is this: loss of love, like the loss of a mother, can deprive one of light and that wide imagination that makes life worthwhile. Also, perhaps life and light is more important than filling our minds with arcane information in books.

Have you read the book? What did you get from it?

4 comments:

  1. This sounds strange and intriguing, Harvee.

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    Replies
    1. The illustrations add a lot to the story.

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    2. This looks to be fascinating. I would not mind giving this a read.

      The meaning that you found in the book certainly seems to be worthwhile and important.

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    3. Brian, I would love to read your reaction and comments on the book. It's a short and fast read!

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