Monday 3 July 2006

The Financial Times ran a review of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman over the weekend. It's by Ben Naparstek, the same journalist whose interview with Murakami I posted on recently.

It contains many of the same quotes and goes further into the writer's feeling of alienation from the country of his birth. Apparently he's just about to move back to the U.S. for a teaching spell. The newspaper's introductory text to the piece is forthright and uncompromising:

The lone wolf of Japanese literature snaps at the stultifying convention of Japanese society by determinedly looking west for inspiration - and freedom.

I read this piece during the hour-and-a-half flight from Sydney to Maroochydore yesterday, and last night lying on the sand-coloured couch in the living room of my rented apartment I finished reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. It's a very satisfying read. Some of the stories I've read before in various journals, but many of them are new. The overall feeling is of depth and competence. This is a writer at the top of his game, perfactly able to handle anything his imagination brings forth.

I planned on reviewing the book here, but now I think I'll wait until I've read it again, as I didn't have the opportunity to take notes, as I normally do.

But it's very interesting to know that Murakami might make a "public statement" about Tokyo's governor, Shintaro Ishihara. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he comes out with. Bring it on, Haruki!


Unknown said...

I went to order this book via The Sydney Morning Herald/Dymocks book service as they do not charge postage on most of the SMH reviewed books.

For some reason the website had no books available last weekend so I will wait until I visit a local bookstore next (I try to avoid this as I end up buying too many books and have to go without food for a few days ;-) ).

Unknown said...

Oh ... and, apart from the food thing, my wife might divorce me if I buy anymore books this year!

Matthew da Silva said...

You won't regret it, Ron.

BTW, I almost purchased The Book Thief. I went up to the Sunshine Plaza shopping centre yesterday and there's an Angus & Robertson there. But I've got enough books to last me this trip, so I demurred (plus, it costs $32).

Unknown said...

$32 is a lot for a paperback, isn't it?

Dymocks just emailed me and they have no copies of Tristram Shandy in stock nor does their supplier. Can you believe it? I really wish they would get a decent online stock system. Anyway, I've ordered it from The Book Depository in the UK for 2.67 pounds which is about $7.70, post free airmail.

I am ordering most of my books from TBD now as the 20 or so ordered recently have all arrived in less than 7 days - fantastic service.

Matthew da Silva said...

Thanks for the tip about TBD.

Despite my resolution to not buy any more books, I bought two books on sale at QBD this afternoon. If they weren't on sale I wouldn't have bought them.

One is by Umberto Eco and the other is another biography of Shakespeare, written by Stgephen Goldblatt who, if I'm not mistaken, is a professor at Harvard. He's also an editor of my Norton Shakespeare.

Unknown said...

To save money it's worth looking at too.

I recently bought a few books for a US$1 each. Postage from the US took the total price to US$10. You can get The Book Thief for US$9.95.

I know this is rough on Aussie bookdealers but (1) I don't mind paying an extra dollar or two but double or triple prices is subsidising them. I would rather spend the extra money on another book or two. (2) There doesn't seem to be a decent backlist available in Australia - it's usually easier (and cheaper) to get a book from a place like TBD. Today's example is Tristram Shandy.

Unless Aussie bookshops improve their Internet services they will go under. We don't all live in inner-city suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.

Enough complaining: I am off to make a chickpea curry.

Unknown said...

Back again.

Just before I clicked off the Abebooks page showing The Book Thief, I noticed a brand-new HC edition (I have only seen PB editions in Oz). Anyway, I grabbed it - total price including 21 day postage AU$26-00. I'm really chuffed (at least until the VISA bill comes in!).

Unknown said...

I am glad the SMH/Dymocks website wasn't working last weekend. I got the HC edition of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman from The Book Depository for AU$27-00 plus free airmail express post.

I am not buying any books again without checking TBD site first.