Review: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

23128304My mom insists it was cheating that I picked up this book. That’s because I partial did it because I knew it was short and I was starting to get behind in my book goal. But I’m still counting it. I’ve heard a lot about Murakami in my years of being a bookseller, most of it good, some of it not, but that’s the way with most everything.

The title pretty accurately and succinctly sums up the nature of the book. A young boy ends up stuck in a very strange library. As I was reading, I thought it seemed a bit counterproductive for an author to write a book that might terrify children from going to the library. Not that the book is really intended for children, but I could see younger people picking it up.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I rather did like it. This is my kind of ‘scary’ book. It’s a bit twisted, a bit off-kilter, and elegantly simple in its delivery. This particular Murakami story reminded me of Gaiman. It had that feel of a modern fairytale to it. Something ordinary is suddenly made slightly more fantastical by the author’s imagination.

Not to say all books need some kind of moral or lesson for the reader to take away, but this is one of those books that I don’t think really has one. And that’s not a bad thing. Reading was purely experiential. A friend of mine who read it compared it to a dreamlike state, which I can see. The reader slips into unconsciousness as they follow the protagonist into the depths of the library and they reawaken at the end when he escapes.

~Ren

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