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Monday, 11 September 2006

Edward Champion reviews Haruki Murakami's Blind Woman, Sleeping Woman in The Philadelphia Enquirer.

He's not completely blown away, concluding the article with:

There is no doubt that Murakami has talent and a keen imaginative voice, but panning for gilt in this murky collection yields more fool's gold than the effort is worth.

And earlier:

It doesn't help that many of these stories, as Murakami admits, are templates for other novels and that many were written very fast.

I don't know if I agree with him. I found the collection superb. Many memorable images stick in my brain and that, as they say, is surely the main thing.

It seems as though the short story gets short shrift, again. The novel, despite the surge in popularity for non-fiction works, remains the dominant genre. Of course, Murakami's novels are so superb that it is easy to be disappointed in the face of these brief, volatile, little works. As Ed himself says:

Where the novel permits Murakami to add layer upon layer of narrative intrigue, the short story's taut format often results in disappointing draftsmanship.

I'm still not convinced. It's annoying to find oneself thrown back into the belligerent stance of the follower loyal unto death. Maybe I should just re-read the collection and make up my mind again.

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