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Haruki Murakami does Seattle
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Tokyo Prose
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The American Scene
Hi Mr Haruki Murakami
The Return from the Lost world
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W. Michael Rollins
Haruki Murakami does Seattle
     
     
  December 1997
   

 

 Haruki Murakami was in town last week, a rare treat for we Seattleites. For those that don't know of him already, Murakami is a Japanese author that is becoming more and more popular outside of Japan, thanks no doubt to a growing number of his works having been translated into English. The latest among these, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (originally published in Japan in 1994 as NejimakiTori Kuronikuru), was recently released and is available in most book stores.

 
 

 

Murakami's other translated works include three novels; Dance Dance Dance, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, A Wild Sheep Chase; and a collection of short stories called The Elephant Vanishes. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. Murakami has been well-received by critics in the United States, who seem to enjoy his slightly off-center, surrealistic writing style.

 

Praise for The Elephant Vanishes

"Enchanting...intriguing...all of these tales have a wonderful surreal quality and a hip, witty tone. Murakami has pulled off a tricky feat, writing stories about people who are bored but never boring." (Wall Street Journal
 
"A stunning writer at work in an era of international literature" (Newsday

 
 

 

The flood of positive feedback has no doubt contributed to his success here in the States, and more and more people (not only fans of Japanese literature, such as myself) recognize the name or have read some of his work. I was nonetheless surprised by the large turnout at a book reading here in Seattle on Monday of last week. Murakami appeared at the Elliot Bay Book Store to promote The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, read from it, answer questions and then endure some book signing. It was the first stop of a brief, whirlwind tour that included a whopping two cities: Seattle and San Francisco. I don't why the "tour" was so abbreviated, but I hear that he's not particularly fond of public appearances.

 

The reading was due to begin at seven-thirty P.M. I had planned to secure tickets for the show early by getting to the book store the previous week, but even then it was too late, as they had already run out. The clerk assured me that I would still be able to attend, provided I got there early that evening and located a seat in the coffee house adjacent to the actual reading room. I determined to do just that.

 
   
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