A few months ago, I was speaking to a friend about her reading habits when we came upon the subject of genres. A different genre altogether. A little while later, I encountered my first Murakami short story.
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Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up.
The Birthday Girl
Not only do they have those lingering questions after reading the final paragraph, but it leaves them wanting more Murakami. Leave it to Murakami to take something as ordinary and mundane as a birthday it happens to everyone — everywhere — every single year and tease out the mystery, nostalgia, and intrigue for readers of all ages. In the introduction to the birthday anthology, he self-identifies as one of the nameless, numberless children born in the world-wide baby boom following World War II.
She waited on tables as usual that day, her twentieth birthday. She always worked Fridays, but if things had gone according to plan on that particular Friday, she would have had the night off. At just over 40 pages it can read in the time taken to eat a slice of birthday cake. It has the hint of a modern fairy tale to it, the story ending with a vaugeness that allows the reader to interpret it in their own way. The difficulty with reviewing such a short story is that there is the potential to simple re-tell the tale and thereby spoil the book for any potential audience. There is a craft to short story writing, setting the scene, creating character connections and telling the narrative arc in a limited number of words. Here the characters could be imagined, the scene too. That said it may not be necessary that they do, given this is a short story.