Men, Memories and Missing Pieces

Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami, ISBN 9780451494, Bond Street Books, 2017 "Well, that was weird!" might be the first fleeting thought to cross a reader’s mind who is new to experiencing Haruki Murakami’s bizarre world of jazz, baseball, ghosts, cats, spaghetti, marathon, sex, and ironing. Bathed in an ever-gyrating whirlpool of urban myths, parables, postmodern nightmares, miracles, puzzles, and pop art, Murakami’s characters appear as those familiar strangers with whom you could gladly share a psychedelic trip down the dark abyss of deserted memories. The Kafkaesque prose master’s unusual dream-reality requires a contemplative engagement of one’s memory in all its missing bits and poetic elusiveness. On that account, his romantic treatment of the shadowy figures of imagination captures a less predictable world of fantasies and fickle nostalgia. Despite its clearly strong narrative command over everyday reality and substantial issues, the idiosyncratic pattern of storytelling one comes across in Murakami’s latest translated collection, Men Without Women (2017) is not an exception either. This book may be easily misunderstood for its somewhat obscurantist title, for it has nothing to do with Hemingway’s narrative of rugged prizefighters in his similarly titled 1927 work from which our Japanese storyteller would seem to have […]

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