Published by Knopf on December 2nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Japanese Literature, Short Story
‘“If all they did was lend out knowledge for free, what would the payoff be for them?”
“But that doesn’t give them the right to saw off the tops of people’s heads and eat their brains. Don’t you think that’s going a bit too far?’”
If you haven’t ever read a story by Murakami before, he’s odd. Very odd. I’m trying my best to review this without giving away any spoilers at all for those who just want to read the story and for those who like to dig for the deeper meanings.
That being said, The Strange Library is a short story presented in a lone book. The book itself is odd, the cover has to be flipped open and has very strange vintage Japanese illustrations to match the story. Everything about the story seems simple and straightforward- not digging deep into characters or plots- adding a richness and dreamlike quality to the story.
But, if you take it to the true Murakami level of reading (we’re talking deep philosophy here) then the reader just might see that the story really revolves around the boy, his pet bird, his mother, and death.View Spoiler »Now, throughout the story the boy was worried about his pet bird. But his bird was already dead, and his mother was dying. He knew the fear of pain and loss in death, and kept to himself in the library (which is why his mother didn’t mind when he finally returned home late, she understood his troubled mind, and also why his new shoes meant so much to him). The design of the book also played a part in how to read the story. The last page where the boy spoke of his mother’s death was written small- the boy lifeless and alone. « Hide Spoiler
Overall The Strange Library was a fabulously odd short short story whether you’re just looking for a quick read or something you can sink your teeth into. I’d suggest getting a hardcopy instead of an ebook for this one just because the Chip Kidd design does add a lot to the story.