Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Position:Book review

**** Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman 24 Stories By Haruki Murakami

Variations of intimate surrealism.

Jazz fan Haruki Murakami presents a number of bebop literary improvisations in what he calls his "first real short story collection" since 1991's The Elephant Vanishes. Stories previously published in The New Yorker join other short works dating back as far as 1980. Juxtaposing the real with the surreal (as in "Where I'm Likely to Find It"), interpersonal distance with social exclusion and emotional absence ("Man-Eating Cats," later incorporated into the novel Sputnik Sweetheart), and fictional narrative with autobiography ("A Folklore for My Generation," "Nausea 1979," and "Chance Traveler"), Murakami continues his compelling literary explorations.

Knopf. 352 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 1400044618

Baltimore Sun **** 1/2

"There is no author more adept than Murakami at capturing the void of life lived under what he calls 'late-stage capitalism.'" JOAN MELLEN

Dallas Morning News ****

"Although [Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman] doesn't have the coruscating brilliance of Kafka on the Shore, his most recent novel, or the emotional and thematic coherence of After the Quake, his recent collection of stories linked by the 1995 Kobe earthquake, it will more than satisfy the hunger of Mr. Murakami's ever-widening circle of readers." CHARLES MATTHEWS

Los Angeles Times ****

"This collection shows Murakami at his dynamic, organic best.... Murakami demonstrates brilliantly the perils of trying to squeeze life into prefabricated compartments." ANTOINE WILSON

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ****

"... a fine distillation of all the defining characteristics of the author's work. ... In less assured hands these stories would just not work, but Murakami, unorthodox though he might be, is a writer of...

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