Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Birthday Stories: Selected and Introduced by Haruki Murakami” as Want to Read:
Birthday Stories: Selected and Introduced by Haruki Murakami
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Birthday Stories: Selected and Introduced by Haruki Murakami

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  2,013 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
Alternate cover edition here.

This is a collection of 13 birthday stories from some of the most distinguished authors of recent years. The stories have been selected and introduced by Haruki Murakami.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Vintage (first published January 8th 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Birthday Stories, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Birthday Stories

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 28, 2011 Paula rated it it was amazing
'Birthday Stories' is an interesting collection of stories, some that I enjoyed and some that I did not enjoy, my favourite stories were 'Turning' by Lynda Sexson, the story of a young boy being told a story by his three elderly ladies, a different kind of story to tell a young man but there was a message behind it which I really liked. 'Angel of Mercy, Angel of Wrath', the story of Eleanor Black who on her 71st birthday has crows flying into her apartment, which initially frightens up but leads ...more
Shaimaa Ali
May 24, 2015 Shaimaa Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was Murakami's plan to collect some short stories that their main theme is about birthdays to translate them to Japanese. I have read this beautiful anthology in my birthday & I've enjoyed Murakami's selection a lot. Not to mention that as expected, his short story"Birthday Girl" outweigh all the others .. But he introduced me to new, contemporary writers that I would have never heard about ..
I truly liked "the Moor: Russel Banks", "The Birthday Cake: Daniel Lyons", " Angel of Mercy, Ang
Suad Shamma
Apr 28, 2015 Suad Shamma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015
I found this to be quite a strange collection of "birthday" stories. Some were highly enjoyable, others were just a little bizarre. I cannot honestly say that any of them stood out as a favourite of mine, but I did like ones better than others.

Murakami's story at the end, "Birthday Girl", about a waitress who gets to make a wish on her 20th birthday was one of the stories that I enjoyed. A wish that is never revealed to us, which of course annoyed me to no end because I am an incredible curious
Kunjila Mascillamani
My ex roommate's ex boyfriend had gifted this book to her on one of her birthdays. When they broke up she left it here for me. It's much later that i realized that it was a collection edited by Murakami and not completely written by him. There are some good stories in the collection.

'Dundun' by Denis Johnson is one i liked. I plan to look the author up and read more by him. Some style that i liked which seemed cinematic to me, in the way words were put,
'You'd think the sky didn't have any air
Sep 22, 2016 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
زیاد از خواندن داستانهای کوتاه لذت نمیبرم. اما ترجمه خیلی خوبی بود از اسداله امرائی عزیز. توقعم 1 رمان کامل از موراکامی بود که متاسفانه با داستان کوتاهی روبرو شدم؛ ناگفته نماند که این داستان در کتابهای دیگری هم منتشر شده. 12 داستان با موضوع تولد و به انتخاب خود موراکامی بود که قبلا به ژاپنی ترجمه کرده و 1 داستان هم آقای امرائی به کتاب اضافه کرده بود.
Krishna Sruthi Srivalsan
This is a collection of stories, selected by Haruki Murakami, each one of them revolving around birthdays. Knowing the theme of the anthology, you would expect this to be a cheery, feel-good read. But nope. Almost all the stories have a certain melancholy about them, a feeling of loss, and loneliness, leading you to deeply contemplate. Some of them leave you feeling strangely haunted.

I don't think this book will be enjoyed by everyone. But it did appeal to my introverted self, and I found myself
Ye Lin Aung
Jan 13, 2016 Ye Lin Aung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
In the introduction of the book, the editor (and in one case, the author), Murakami, himself, mentioned that he hoped the reader to find at least one of the stories in the book, gives you real pleasure and makes the reader to spend part of his/her next birthday re-reading it.
I dare say it hit the spot. I am going to re-read some of the stories, if not the whole book, on my next ( 17th, if you believe me :p ) birthday.
Honestly, I enjoy only some of the stories and I don't quite understand some.
Hani Abdullah
This is one of a number of Murakami books I bought in one go and this being my third Murakami read, I can say it's the most disappointing up till now. I feel Murakami was infatuated with the concept, that being an anthology of shorts that revolve around birthdays, and somewhere along the way was more obsessed to finish it than make a good anthology. Not all concept good on paper do well beyond.Though it's a nice idea, the majority of the stories were a bit bland and tasteless. I found myself for ...more
May 10, 2016 Bjørn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, 2016
My favorite short story anthology.
The book started on a good and heartwarming note with Murakami's introduction. His notes on his own birthday made me think about my own birthday, and maybe that was the point on why Murakami decides to made a collection of birthday themed short stories, he wanted the reader to reflect on their own birthdays. His introduction felt close to my heart, it was very personal especially for me who have never read any of his works apart from his fictional works, it's like getting a new glimpse of Muraka ...more
Rich Gamble
Birthday stories is a somewhat hit and miss. Having already read and enjoyed Murakami’s own story contribution in blind willow sleeping woman and the Raymond Carver story in what we talk about when we talk about love I still felt it was worth a read having wanted to try some Denis Johnson and David Forster Wallace. The previously mentioned authors were highlights for me along with new discoveries Andrea Lee and Russell Banks. The rest were ok with some rather disappointing. I really enjoyed Mura ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Rikke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories with one theme in common: they're all about birthdays - and yet they are nothing alike.

The collection is dipped in a sea of melancholia and sadness, as birthdays are often associated with reflections and a profound outlook on the life that has passed by. People find themselves longing for closure, for hope, and for something more than they ever got.

My favorite story was perhaps the first one in the collection. 'The Moor' by Russell Banks is lingering in the back of
Dec 01, 2011 Ranee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all readers who think birthdays are cool
Recommended to Ranee by: a bystander in NBS who was laughing while reading this book
Shelves: my-murakami
This is the first of the Murakami book I have read. It is not really his own book,he just introduced it. A bunch of great writers happened to have a short story made with a theme on birthdays and they sort of wanted to compile it. Though this is not wholly authored by Murakami,this was the book that made me so curious to find him and read him and it all too funny, it wasn't my birthday when I bought this book, at least not for the next 10 months!

So what about birthdays? What makes them special?
Aug 01, 2011 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second attempt this month at a collection of short stories. The stories in this collection were by all different authors, selected by Haruki Murakami. I think that the multitude of authors contributed, in some part, to my increased like of this book over the other (Dave Eggers' How We Are Hungry). In addition, I liked Murakami's short introduction of the author and critique of the work before each story (as well as in the introduction). The stories themselves were interesting, as well, though ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Akylina rated it liked it
I bought this book as a birthday present to myself, with the initial aim of reading one story per day until my birthday came. I'm sad to say I completely failed in that. But anyway.

I'm kind of disappointed in that book. Some of the stories were nice, some were not, but isn't that usually the case with stories collections? You rarely like everything. But this isn't what inherently disappointed me. Most of the stories were sad, about lonely people, about old people, about people whose lives weren'
SerA Mo
Sep 04, 2016 SerA Mo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
یک مجموعه داستان با تمِ جشنِ تولد. گردآوریشده توسط هاروکی موراکامی. که البته خودِ آقای امرایی هم هنگامِ ترجمه، چند داستان به مجموعه اضافه میکند
پن: خودِ موراکامی هم داستانی در مجموعه دارد
May 19, 2016 B.Kitanov rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, tri
Really disturbing and hard to read stories. I didn't like a single one, they're so confused and not understandable. I adore Murakami, he's one on my favorite novelists these days but this collected stories aren't the cup of my tea and I must rate this book with two stars.
Apr 25, 2015 Joan rated it it was amazing
Murakami's own "Birthday Girl" is the best story in the book and one of the best short stories I have read.
Oct 14, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Murakami's story was, of course, the best in the collection :)
Jun 10, 2014 Thy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I loved it, it was nice to read different birthday stories
Grace Lee
Jun 29, 2007 Grace Lee rated it really liked it
birthdays may not always be happy
Hákon Gunnarsson
Oct 23, 2016 Hákon Gunnarsson rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Haruki Murakami is the editor, and the author of one of the thirteen stories in this book, and I picked it up because him. I thought the idea behind it was interesting enough, all stories that somehow are about birthdays. It is not all "Happy birthday" though. Most of the stories have a more serious undertone than that.

I think I can safely say that I really like about half of the stories. I had actually read, and liked two of them before I came across this book, the stories by Murakami and Raym
Oct 26, 2016 Novin is currently reading it
The introduction was pretty good, with a short memory from Murakami himself; He writes as smooth as water flows down a river.

After describing how he managed to gather all the 13 stories, and saying a little about each -pointing out that most of them are not happy stories- I specially liked the last paragraph, quite heartwarming, that said: "Finally, as editor (and,in the one case, as author), I hope you find at least one story in the thirteen contained in this volume, whether happy or not, that
Rehan Abd Jamil
Oct 14, 2016 Rehan Abd Jamil rated it liked it
I hardly understand all the stories except for Mr. Murakami's..Hmm..
G Vivek
Oct 07, 2016 G Vivek rated it it was amazing
All the stories have that underlying circumstance as someone's birthday. I quite liked few stories but some I didn't understand what they meant. But each has a unique take on life.
I had read Murakami's story first, still had that Kafka on the shore hangover, and liked it. The story involving three oldies visiting a kid's birthday was unusual. The narration of the kid trying out the jumping board in the swimming pool left me hanging for ending. Every other story left a mark in my brain. I thorou
Jaime Mozo Dutton
Given that the work collected in this anthology is from some of the most accomplished writers of fiction currently in print I thought I would have been left feeling far more moved and inspired by Birthday stories. It's not that it wasn't enjoyable or that I didn't discover new writers but it's just that maybe the best works of each writer wasn't selected as the theme of the collection did not permit it.
The Russel banks story, The Moor, is a hi light, simple and beautiful.
Denis Johnsons tale, Du
Rushati Mukherjee
Really loved most of the book, including the introduction! Outstanding favourite: David Foster Wallace's "Forever Overhead". His prose is glorious. I realised his prose style is very similar to how I like my poems to be. I am in shivers of delight. MUST. READ. EVERYTHING BY HIM.
Stories that capture the essential loneliness of the human condition are heartbreaking and stay with the reader for a long time. Such are "Angel of Mercy, Angel of Wrath" and "The Birthday Cake". Very touching, both.
Nose in a book (Kate)
The book started life as a collection of works in English translated into Japanese by Murakami, with an added short story of his own that he wrote specially. For this English edition he has written an introduction about the curation process and perhaps reading this first gave me a slightly negative start. First, Murakami freely admits that he is not a big birthday person himself and that the stories he found tend to be dark and unhappy. Second, he struggled to find enough stories and ended up as ...more
Jul 17, 2013 D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of birthday stories selected by Murakami. He has selected some best of the stories including one of his own for this book. I was really looking forward to read this book. There are many reasons behind it and one of them is..I actually wanted to see what kind of stories would Murakami choose. Well! I wasn't wrong. Some are dark and you might find some weird considering that these are birthday stories. Exciting part was Murakami's view about his own birthday. A part of Mu ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read many short story collections which consist of stories by a selection of different writers, but I was excited to read some which have been selected by one of my favourite authors. Despite my rather high expectations, I found the choices in this collection to be a little hit and miss. Certainly none are bad, however there were few moments that I found to be truly excellent. There are gems and moments of great insight, and Murakami's story which lies at the end of the volume is brill ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words
  • The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
  • Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction
  • Hardboiled & Hard Luck
  • First Snow on Fuji
  • Inside and Other Short Fiction: Japanese Women by Japanese Women
  • Haruki Murakami
  • McSweeney's #35
  • The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto
  • All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay D.C.
  • The Gate
  • Toddler-Hunting & Other Stories
  • The New York Stories of Henry James
  • Haruki Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle: A Reader's Guide
  • The Diving Pool: Three Novellas
  • Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition
  • پرسه در حوالی زندگی
  • About Love and Other Stories
Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
More about Haruki Murakami...

Share This Book

“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves” 7 likes
“Sometimes I get the feeling that everything that happened to me was some kind of illusion. It’s as though something happened to make me think that things happened that never really happened at all. But I know for sure that they did happen.” 1 likes
More quotes…