I believe that love is the indispensable fuel that allows us to go on living. Someday that love may end. Or it may never amount to anything. But even if love fades away, even if it’s unrequited, you can still hold on to the memory of having loved someone, of having fallen in love with someone. And that’s a valuable source of warmth.First person singular by haruki murakami
A mindbending new collection of short stories from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami.
The eight masterly stories in this new collection are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. From nostalgic memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. Occasionally, a narrator who may or may not be Murakami himself is present. Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides.
It’s been so long since I’ve been able to really focus long enough to read a book. This whole pandemic situation has me losing it a bit more every day and everything is both a mess and isn’t 🥴 Because of this, and how big of a factor my mood is when it comes to reading, I haven’t really been able to consume stories with the same vigour I had before. In fact I have been finding it hard to focus on really anything nowadays…that being the main reason why posting on both my blog and on Instagram has been a big no no.
But that’s honestly natural. I truly believe we shouldn’t force ourselves to do something when our minds are clearly not in it. You’re probably going to end up doing something that doesn’t even resonate with you, just for the sake of doing it. So I decided to pace myself, really give myself the time to process the emotions and everything else I might be going through and then just let things flow as they would. And lo and behold I read a book! Actually I read a few others (very few) but I’ll speak about them later.
I think it’s important to say that I’ve been excitedly waiting for this day. The day in which I finally read a Haruki Murakami book. Murakami has been on the very top of my tbr for so long is actually painful, but I did it! So let’s talk a little bit about it.
This man has so many books I didn’t know where to start, and eventually I was stressing so much about which one to pick that I knew I would just have to go for it. So one day I was strolling through a bookstore and came across First Person Singular. Honestly the thing that made me start reading this one is the fact that it is a collection of short stories, and since my reading mood is a bit hectic going for short stories seemed like a good bet. I was not disappointed.
Murakami’s writing is so good. I love how he manages to write in such a laid-back and easy but at the same time incredibly beautiful and structured way. It felt like I was having a conversation with a friend or reading someone’s journal and that made it so easy for me to get immersed in each story. The pace was just perfect and I found myself reading the book really quickly.
The stories themselves are…interesting. I really think that this is what people mean when they say a story is done in a real Murakami fashion because they just felt so authentic. I couldn’t exactly state if I loved them or not, for every single story, but I also couldn’t stop reading. There was a real dreamlike and philosophical feel to them, which I absolutely loved, and I always wanted more.
As you can get from the name of the book each of these short stories is told from the first person perspective. We see through the narrator’s eyes, think their thoughts, feel their feelings and have their doubts, and at times Murakami’s writing would lead us down some paths that didn’t necessarily have a conclusion but at the same time felt like just enough (much like our thoughts do many times). Each of the stories has a lot to do with reminiscing, with the protagonist looking back to a moment that made a strong emotional impact on them. I loved how much pondering there is, how much it makes us think and feel and it got me into a deep philosophical mood, which I am always here for. Something I also loved is that music is a recurring element in every single one of the stories. Music evokes so much feeling and it just seemed fitting to have it in such melancholic stories.
I really can’t write a super concise review for this because I feel like there is so much of everything in this, and therefore so much space for interpretation for anyone that it is easier to leave it to you to have your own experience. But I will say that it was more than enough to get me to want to read everything this man has written.