Friday, August 23, 2002

My copy of Haruki Murakami's new collection of short stories, After The Quake, arrived today.

I received it at work and drove home joyfully (apologies to any pedestrians who may have been frightened), eager to crack it open. I grabbed a glass of water and took to the balcony with my new little book.

By the way, I have to say that Murakami's hardbacks (at least the English translations, which are published by Alfred A. Knopf) are always really pleasing. The heft of the book. The cover art. The typesetting (In fact, this, like the other books, has a note at the end on the typeface itself. After The Quake uses "centaur" typeface). They make the reading experience multi-faceted, for me at least. This is a short-ish book. A couple of hundred pages, containing only six stories. The type is double spaced and the margins large. I just like the fact that it seems the publisher actually cared about the presentation of the book.

Anyway, I opened the book and read the first story, "UFO In Kushiro", in about ten minutes.

And then, I started to feel a little afraid. Here was my new Murakami, that I had waited for for so long, and I was in danger of leaping through it in the course of an evening! I have been rereading his books again and again for years. Was I going to devour this one so quickly, and add it to the pile of already-read?

A dilemma, to be sure.

I put the book aside and found something else to do. I think I'll try to budget it. Maybe treat myself to one story a day.

Anyway, this is just a little recommendation, I guess. Because there aren't too many writers who can provide me with a dilemma like this. Maybe Iain Banks, though he hasn't consistently grabbed me with every book like Murakami does.

I guess I'm a fan.

(added bonus: transcript of webchat with Iain Banks)


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