Tag Archives: haruki murakami

Adapting the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to the Stage

For a little better Murakami news, have a look at this Economist article on the recent transformation of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle from novel to play:

First published in English in 1997, this Japanese novel was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, despite its fierce resistance to explanation. Mr Earnhart, a former producer for Miramax Films, has applied some cinematic flourishes to this production, which often recalls the bizarre cinema of David Lynch. The novel’s hallucinatory world is evoked through film projections, puppets and music. The mood is haunting and confusing, and peppered with bewitching details, like a white bird that suddenly flutters from bedsheets and flies away.

Norwegian Wood Too Hot for School

I’m mainly linking to this because when will you ever again get to hear a Fox News blowhard rail against Haruki Murakami? Plus, it’s strange how outraged parents will tolerate all kinds of sex, drugs, violence, etc in television, movies, and the culture at large but will go to long lengths to stop their children from reading books. I suppose it’s some kind of sublimation of the urge to protect their kids from the dangerous world out there, books being easier to ban than the TV.

It was put on the required summer reading list for the 15- and 16-year-old pupils entering the 10th grade at Williamstown High School in New Jersey, with Nic Sheff’s memoir of addiction and recovery, Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines, recommended for senior-year students, aged 17 to 18. After “multiple” complaints from parents to the school board, the books have now been removed from the lists.

Objections were raised in particular to a scene in Norwegian Wood that sees Naoko’s confidante, Reiko, relating the time when she was seduced by a 13-year-old girl, and to a “drug-fuelled, homosexual orgy” in Tweak.

“I don’t think that’s relevant for any teenager,” mother Robin Myers said to local paper the Gloucester County Times about Murakami’s novel. “I was just kind of in shock.”

Fox News interviewed Peter Sprigg of Christian organisation the Family Research Council, and author of Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage, about the controversy. “Here we see the intersection of parental values being offended, the hypersexualisation of our youth and the homosexual agenda being pushed. This just illustrates why a lot of American parents are not willing to entrust their children to the public schools any more,” he said.

I’m not going to link to the actual Fox News piece, but you can get it from the Guardian article and it’s fun to read how they try to frame Norwegian Wood as some kind of hyper-explicit sex romp.

1Q84 Cover Unveiled

As you can see above, Knopf has unveiled the cover of Haruki Murakami’s forthcoming, massive novel, 1Q84. It’s quite a pretty cover.

To mark the occasion, Knopf’s blog has an informative conversation with uber-designer Chip Kidd on how he built the cover:

Logistically the title is a book designer’s dream, because its unique four characters so easily adapt it to a very strong, iconic treatment . . .

Upon reading the manuscript, it soon occurred to me that the duality of Aomame’s situation could be represented by an interaction of the book’s jacket with the binding/cover underneath. By using a semi-transparent vellum for the jacket, and printing the woman’s image in a positive/negative scheme with the title on the outside layer and the rest of her on the binding, once the jacket is wrapped around the book it ‘completes’ the picture of her face.

If you head on over to the Knopf blog, they have images where you can see exactly what Kidd means.

1Q84 Street Date

If you’re one of the Murakami people out there, Amazon now lists 1Q84 for Oct 25 (though sans cover).

The page count is 928, compared to 1662 for the Japanese trilogy, so looks like this is only volumes 1 and 2, as I suspected.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one stacks up. Murakami can do some interesting stuff when he’s on, but pretty much everything since The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has been bland. Hope this one is good!


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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