Friday, April 14, 2006

"The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Haruki Murakami

Is this narrator crazy? you might ask, and we wish we had a ready answer for you. Maybe he's just a little... obsessive, and a little muddled when it comes to mixing up history and the weather and his girlfriend's sexual particularities. And maybe neither his diary nor his memory is telling him the truth. Translated from the Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum. Read by Scoot. Time 10:35.

We like this little anecdote about the popularity of Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel, Norwegian Wood: A big bestseller in Japan, it was sold in two volumes packaged together, one volume green, the other red. Devoted fans would dress in colors to match their preferred volume. Imagine the streetgang warfare. We saw him give a lecture once in America, and it was supremely boring--he didn't even read any fiction! (But it must be admitted that at that point his English was still pretty uncertain.) Well, we concede that his fiction might be a lot more interesting, and you might want to begin with the stories collected in The Elephant Vanishes (including the one here) or a novel like Kafka on the Shore or Sputnik Sweetheart. At the very least, they're good titles!

No comments: