Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: “The Strange Library”

by Haruki Murakami (translated by Ted Goossen).

All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.

Murakami has such a brilliant ability to lift the layers off the most mundane places and everyday events, and reveal a world that is so eerily fantastic. I was really fascinated by this short story of a boy who is imprisoned in the hidden depths of an old library by an evil librarian who will eat his brains if the boy cannot memorize three thick books on Ottoman tax collection.

While imprisoned, two very unique characters visit the boy - and it is through the alternating visits of the beautiful girl who only speaks through her hands, and the intriguing Sheep Man, that we find ourselves in a world that is as unreal owing to the fantasy element, as it is made real by invoking some very real human fears.

Set at the end of an enormous underground labyrinth in a world of irrational tyranny, emerges a cocoon of friendship and bravery, and - above all - a surreal mirror to a very real world.

One final word, even though this is categorized as a children's book, don't forget that this is also Murakami. Nothing he says can be taken at face value. Everything he says has endless layers of interpretations.

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