'My father's face is full of memory. Sad black eyes brim full of resemblance. Wide shoulders and chest holding the past erect. He is always distracte
'My father's face is full of memory. Sad black eyes brim full of resemblance. Wide shoulders and chest holding the past erect. He is always distracted, always looking behind him. Dead Lillie calls, he runs to her photograph. The disdain of her family lives in his eyes.' (p. 151)
A slim volume of wonders. These short stories encompass so much no matter their size - often the ones that are a few pages long hit the hardest, drop you right in the deep end, create the most evocative moods, make you feel like you're in the middle of a conversation with either the most fascinating or frustrating people you can meet. The characters are deftly drawn with the utmost economy, the surest of strokes, with remembrances and dialogue that cut clear across the page. It's moving, devastating, funny, witty, charming, all at once, somehow. The scenes come alive in a paragraph or two, in these memorable snapshots of the 60's. No sentences are wasted. The whole is more than the sum of its parts by a mile. The voices are utterly distinctive. Every ending, every landing to these stories are stuck firmly, confidently, and sure.
I need to go watch [Kathleen Collins' film] Losing Ground now. What a find of a collection. Pick this up, let your mind go, and just marvel.
'We were walking down the street one day and I told her I did two hundred sit-ups every morning as soon as I wake up. She reached out, touched my thigh, I pulled the muscles real tight and she swooned, I swear to God, man, fell out cold on the sidewalk in a swoon, opened her eyes and burst out laughing. Cracked me up, man. It was so absurd it snapped my mind, I pulled her up, crushed her so tight she yelped, I was so happy to have that moment. Okay, okay, she whimpered, wriggled free, and took my hand, okay, okay, what else do you do?' (p. 93-94)
PS: A few of my favourite passages that might be spoiler-y are under the cut , just in case because these stories are so short that I wouldn't want anything to ruin the surprise of reading them. My favourites from the bunch: 'Only Once,' 'Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?,' 'The Happy Family,' 'Treatment for a Story,' and 'When Love Withers All of Life Cries.'
'"Think I can make it?" He grinned. Like he could open and close life. With his laughing eyes. Poised. And his golden body. Poised.
'Only once do you know that kind of man, they say. Only once. [...] But she would know them all her life. One after the other they would turn out to be that kind of man.' (p. 29-31)
'I carry with me always the memory of their young love, I would give anything to see them again, loose limbed and free, coming into that apartment and heating it up with a glow, an intensity so strong it made you tingle...mixed feelings ran through your mind...Oh my God, you thought, how life will take them apart, untangle them when they should be allowed to stay as they are, stay so deeply entwined, full of faith only in each other - oh, they should stay like that forever. I tell you in my mind's eye I have never let them change...' (p. 78-79)
'You thought it could wait, it was so alive you thought it could wait, that it took no effort because you could laugh, talk, go inside, find pure cream waiting for you. You turned into a dumb motherfucker and switched track [...] backed away as if every day this came your way, every day you could touch, play, connect, make dumb jokes absurd gestures, feel the fuse between us, what are you calling me now for? I saw it way back, I saw it, wanted it, waited around for you to see it, what are you calling me now for when it was right in the palm of your hand, damn it?' (p. 106)
3.5! Really close to a 4 but I'm being more picky with my ratings since there aren't half stars. Maybe I'll change the rating once I read another from3.5! Really close to a 4 but I'm being more picky with my ratings since there aren't half stars. Maybe I'll change the rating once I read another from Murakami because compared to the others I've read (the recent ones translated in English, at least), this is easily a 4. I've been more let down by his novels, but this collection of short stories all moved along and had lots of loneliness and humour and a touch of strange that came together so well in 'Kino' (which imo is the most Murakami story out of this set), and they were the perfect length to keep that pacing and mystery and everything that clicks with Murakami when he's firing on all cylinders. I had higher expectations for this and it did meet them! There was something to love and linger over in every single story, with very Murakami dialogue and thoughts and musings. I think my next Murakami - it'll be a while though - will be more short stories, as opposed to novels. I really like this format for him, or maybe it's me truly getting hooked on short stories now. I've never been on pace to read this many collections ever, much less in half a year.
A hearty rec for Murakami fans, and if you're new, this one has a bit here and there of lighter touches of his trademarks but still accessible for a good time. A quick note: it would help to be a bit familiar with Kafka's The Metamorphosis to enjoy the story, 'Samsa in Love,' but that's about it....more
First Eleanor, now Merricat. It's amazing how much I can relate, even, or maybe especially so, regarding the most ugly of thoughts. (A few pages in anFirst Eleanor, now Merricat. It's amazing how much I can relate, even, or maybe especially so, regarding the most ugly of thoughts. (A few pages in and the villagers were so easily defined as the enemy.) In terms of murder, this method here isn't all that strenuous. Once again, another intriguing house that is a character on its own. The voice is enticing and strange and too easy to lose yourself in. I wasn't expecting to read this one that quickly but most of it was in one sitting.
Oh, Shirley Jackson, I will definitely read everything you've written before I go....more
how did I miss this? I don't usually do psychological thrillers (not bc I don't like the genre but I'm a wimp most days + it's hard to sift throudang.
how did I miss this? I don't usually do psychological thrillers (not bc I don't like the genre but I'm a wimp most days + it's hard to sift through for the good stuff bc I can be picky about the writing/voice) but is a romantic trope I still would fall for (meet someone in a bookstore) being flipped around like this, sounds promising. And the creepiest....more