* Contains no plot spoilers
Short fiction can be a fickle thing and sometimes difficult to love with some not so polished or ridiculous moments. Yet Murakami’s short fiction is an exception. He can weave magic better than anyone about the intricacies of human relationships, the vagaries and oddities of the human heart and dark and light of the human soul.
This collection weaves together short fiction by him, previously published in the New Yorker and Freemans. However two of his stories An Independent Organ and Men without Women are original compositions for this book.
Each story is a gem in its own right and equally as strong and haunting as the next. Together he has woven the most beautiful string of pearls here that, taken as a whole, are a masterpiece.
The stories are themed loosely around men who are in one way or another estranged from the women they love. You are introduced to a man whos girlfriend’s keep killing themselves, another man who reflects on his dead wife’s love affairs. And Kafka’s Metamorphosis gets a reboot in one of his stories, with Murakami’s interpretation of the protagonist Gregor Samsa.
Each story has a deep emotional gravity that you will find satisfying. It’s the literary equivalent of eating an amazing ramen in a top-end restaurant in Tokyo. Fast to read/eat, but so so very delicious.