Desire by Haruki Murakami

As you wade through the cadence of his prose, you catch the glint of a line so brilliant that it takes up the space in your ribcage meant for oxygen.

Desire by Haruki Murakami is a short story collection compiled from his previous works. Namely, Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, The Elephant Vanishes, and Men Without Women.

In classic Murakami fashion, reading is a trust exercise.

You are prompted to evaluate where you are, what world you are in, and whether the pieces in this Murakami universe work differently than you are accustomed to.

And, as is most often the case, you don’t really mind the confusion.

For some reason, I have complete trust in Murakami’s storytelling. Desire teases the readers with the promise that questions will be answered in due time. Then, with a crisp, articulate tone, he ushers the readers in. But first, let me tell you about the bakery heist and why it had to happen, and why I am grateful to have done it with my wife.

My best friend once said his writing was so “quiet.” Quiet. Like all great writers, Murakami’s voice is distinct.

But because the novel is a patchwork of short stories pulled from, well, short stories, in the end, none of it really makes sense—at least not to me. They don’t meld together to form the membrane of a solid plot, nor is there enough material for the reader to get to know Murakami’s characters.

Desire is what you would give the well-versed Murakami reader.

If you are new to his work, I would offer a taste of something else, something richer like Norwegian Wood or Kafka on The Shore. Those two books were my entryways.

But then again, as you wade through the cadence of his prose, you catch the glint of a line so brilliant that it takes up the space in your ribcage meant for oxygen. You get an inkling that it is very easy to get lost in Murakami’s works when he drops lines like this:

“Everything is blowing up around us, but there are still those who care about a broken lock, and others who are dutiful enough to try to fix it…But maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe working on the little things as dutifully and honestly as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart.”

What was your first Murakami book?

Briefly Noted

Desire by Haruki Murakami

Short Story

109 pages

As you wade through the cadence of his prose, you catch the glint of a line so brilliant that it takes up the space in your ribcage meant for oxygen.

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