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The Strange Library

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  44,833 ratings  ·  6,459 reviews
From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami—a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. Opening the flaps on this unique little book, readers will find themselves immersed in the strange world of best-selling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination.

The story of a lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plotti
...more
Hardcover, 77 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Harvill Secker (first published 2001)
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Mollie What a bizzar tale! I recently checked out the Ted Gossen version from my college library and read it through in less than an hour! I think Im going t…moreWhat a bizzar tale! I recently checked out the Ted Gossen version from my college library and read it through in less than an hour! I think Im going to give it a day to process and then perhaps give it another read! (less)
Melina Is it complicated in korean? Because I'm learning and I'm looking for something to read ^^ By the way, I read it in french ^^…moreIs it complicated in korean? Because I'm learning and I'm looking for something to read ^^ By the way, I read it in french ^^(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  44,833 ratings  ·  6,459 reviews


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Cecily
A rich and delicious snack that defies categorisation.

It has elements of Kafka, Borges, Roald Dahl, Hillaire Belloc and Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, with a dash of Orwell (but one digit out). It looks like a beautifully designed and illustrated children's book, though it's rather dark for small children, and YA feels wrong as well.

I think it's a book for adults who like slightly sinister tales and want to recapture a taste of the frisson of fear they relished when young.

Story

The story is a fairly s
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Fushigi na Toshokan = The Strange Library, Haruki Murakami

Originally published: November 1982. Short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, bestselling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination.

A boy visits his local library on the way home from school. When he asks to borrow a book, he is directed to Room 107 in the basement where a stern old man confr
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Carol
Hmmmmmmm..........My first Haruki Murakami story turned out to be a really dark and weird reading experience, but the more I think about it, perhaps I do get it.

I think a grown man (see shoe illustration) is reliving a sad childhood memory.

I think the setting in the bowels of THE STRANGE LIBRARY represents loneliness.

I think the nasty ogre with scary eyes means to show us fear.

I think the starling represents worry and loss.

I think the sheep brings memories of kindness that absorb pain, and

I thin

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Kenny McCool
“Mr. Sheep Man,” I asked, “why would that old man want to eat my brains?”
“Because brains packed with knowledge are yummy, that’s why. They’re nice and creamy. And sort of grainy at the same time.”


1

I have a confession to make ... The Strange Library is the first work of Haruki Murakami I've ever read. There, I’ve said it. One of my best friends, Srđan, kept pushing me to read something of Murakami's. To Srđan, Murakami is a mythic figure ~~ I'm certain he makes the sign of the cross every time the
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s.penkevich
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Murakami's magical side
Shelves: whimsical, murakami, fun, art
Why did something like this have to happen to me? All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.

Haruki Murakami has a fascinating ability to break open the natural world and let loose all the magic that we hope and suspect is lurking right under the surface. The Strange Library is a cause for celebration in the Murakami ouveur, even just for the simple fact that its existence signals that the well-respected novelist has achieved a superstar status in the world of reading; even more wort
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Mutasim Billah
“Ever since I was little my mother had told me, if you don’t know something, go to the library and look it up.”

The Strange Library is a children's illustrated novel written by Haruki Murakami. The story centers around a boy who finds himself imprisoned in a labyrinth-like library. The book centers around strange, dark themes and words for a children's book. Some regular Murakami-esque features are present here in their full glory.

The moral

It is hard to tell what the moral of this strange tale i
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Chihoe Ho
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Strange Library" is the collector's keepsake to add to the library of every Haruki Murakami fan, and a delightful gift to a reader who can appreciate a well-told imaginative short story in a creatively packaged edition.

When translation of "The Strange Library" was announced with a release of just mere months after his most recent novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, it was like Christmas came early for me. As with most Chip Kidd-designed Murakami covers, "The Strange
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B Schrodinger
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This time (unlike the last) the call came in the morning while I was eating a banana. Christmas breaks were over, my partner was back at work and I still had a month before I had to teach again.

"Happy New Year Brendon", came the distinctive voice.

"And to you Moriko", I replied.

"Oh Brendon, you remembered. I am Moriko. It means 'child of the forest'."

"Moriko I haven't even taken 'The Strange Library' out of it's plastic cover yet. Your research skills are still good, but your timing seems to be
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Jenna
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, out-of-asia
"Because brains packed with knowledge are yummy, that’s why. They’re nice and creamy. And sort of grainy at the same time."

When I placed a hold on this, I did so thinking it was a full length novel, not an 87 page novella. With just about any other author, I would have returned it unread when I saw how short it is. 

But! The author is Haruki Murakmi so I knew it would be a good story despite its brevity. I knew it would be something I'd get lost in for the duration of its pages. 

Ah, Haruki, Haruk
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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
What a story! It hit me so hard in the end.
I can understand what the author is trying to convey through this short fantasy/magical realism book.
I can feel the fear, the uncertainty, the relationship with the strangeness of reality, the unexpected inevitable turn of events and some memories that would never leave.
It's so beautiful. I kept wanting for more but the book ended so fast 🙄
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K.D. Absolutely
I just did not get what this book is all about. Is this a children's book? Is this to scare children to go to libraries to read? Is this something like Antoine de St. Exupery's The Little Prince? However, I cannot think of any hidden message of the book. While reading, I was waiting for any of the characters to utter endearing lines like those spoken by the Little Prince or the fox in St. Exupery's classic. None.

The only good thing about this book is its unique and attractive look. The cover has
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jessica
what a strange little book. i think i enjoyed the illustrative presentation of the book more than the story itself, but it was a quick intro to murakami and i am looking forward to reading his other works.

3 stars
Susan Budd
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been fascinated by dreams. As a child, I found it curious that the very same people, places, and things that I encountered in the real world could be so strangely distorted in the dream world. It was the experience I have come to know as the familiar rendered unfamiliar. Stranger still was the opposite experience. The places I had never been that felt so familiar.

In the dream world, everything is slightly askew. The rules of reality don’t apply. Two people can be one and one can b
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Manuel Antão
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Thoughts on Translation: "The Strange Library" by Haruki Murakami


Published December 2nd 2014

My first Murakami experience.

I’ve always avoided Murakami. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I don’t read Japanese. Or maybe it’s because I’m very particular about the use of stream-of-consciousness and magic realism in a story. Saramago is to stream-of-consciousness what Borges is to magic realism. José Saramago is for me the Nirnava when it co
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)

And ever since I was little my mother had told me, if you don’t know something, go to the library and look it up.

light

OK! That’s sound advice. I should know: I once had four different library cards in my pocket, before I even heard of these things called internet and cable television. But this is Japan (have you seen those super weird game shows they love so much?) and this is a Murakami short story, so a library visit can take you to unexpected and bizarre (dark) places.

A young boy interested in h
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Doug H
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This illustrated "storybook" seems a gift to Murakami fans who may have been disappointed by the realism of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.

Weird and wonderful, it reads something like Hansel & Gretel Get Trapped in The Black Lodge from David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Don't expect a novel or even a novella here though. It's definitely a short story and it can be read in an hour. But what a fun hour! Very "condensed soup Murakami", it's chock full of his trademark surrealism (an underground world, a Jungian
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Sarah Churchill
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Such an unusual story and presentation. I'd say this is one for fans of Neil Gaiman's work, because it's just enough dark oddness to make you uncomfortable, but with a bit of magic in there too.

Dropping in to the library on a whim to find something out on his way home from school, our main character is led to the depths of the dungeon where he's held captive, along with some very usual people.

The presentation adds a whole lot to the experience here, with illustrations and reproductions of old b
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Sue
A very odd little book.
What to make of it? I'm not really sure. Is it really about a library? Somehow I doubt it as Murakami is never "about" any single thing.

A young boy goes to the library after school looking for specific books (on Turkish tax codes of all things). The librarian offers to find them but then the strangeness begins. There are so many conditions to reading the books that life itself is imperiled.

Is this a fable of childhood fears? A fable of fears of institutions with strange
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
The Garden of Forking Corridors

I had just finished "The Garden of Forking Paths". I was about to start some Kafka, but I wandered into a $10 bookshop to see if there was anything that I could read in between. I looked at the front table. Nothing. Inside I wondered about a book about Heidegger. I went back to it twice, but decided I had enough Heidegger for the moment. I resolved to be virtuous and save my money for another occasion. I had one last look at the front table on the way out, and
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Aesaan
Its a bizzare tale of a young boy, a mysterious girl and a sheep man plotting their escape from a nightmarish library.

*Note to self: You don't need to please everyone and seek approval*

Murakami and his wild imagination, he leaves some questions unansered, and it makes you really think. The Strange Library is a mysterious book and one that can only be read and felt and you can have your own theories.

Looking forward to reading more of Murakami's works. He reminds me of Neil Gaiman, anyone else
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Forrest
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Indulgent" is the word that critics will use to describe The Strange Library, no doubt. Some readers have expressed their thought that Murakami is now famous enough that he can do whatever the heck he pleases (a'la Peter Jackson's mauling interpretation of The Hobbit), spurning the marketplace and readers who might enjoy his more carefully-crafted fictions.

I say "do as you please, Murakami". But I've been accused of being self-indulgent in my own writing, at times, too.

If you don't like what Mu
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Claudia
“[…] ever since I was little my mother had told me, if you don’t know something, go to the library and look it up.”[…] “All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.”

This was a sweet-horror (strange association, I know) little story, about a boy and his thirst for knowledge, and I loved its every word until the end, which I hated with all my being! Damn it, Murakami! Yes, pursuit of knowledge follows a thorny path and often, there is no room for anything else, but the story is about a b
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leynes
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rereading some of the Murakami's that I read years ago is so interesting to me. It makes me reflect on the kind of reader that I was and the kind of reader that I have become now. I am so grateful (and proud!) that I committed the past few years to reading extensively, more broadly and way more critical. Reading is a great tool to expand one's horizon, to sharpen one's mind. Through reading, we learn.
If you don't know something, go to the library and look it up.
When I first read The Strange
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Sam Quixote
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A weird question gets stuck in our young protagonist’s head: how did the Ottoman Empire collect taxes? This must be set in pre-Google times because he goes to a library to find the answer! But this is no ordinary library and the boy’s surreal odyssey is about to begin…

The Strange Library is an excellent story, one of Murakami’s best and certainly his most entertaining I’ve read in years. With its child protagonist, fantastical elements, anthropomorphic animal character and maze, the story remin
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Blair
This felt really pointless to me. As several other reviewers have commented, it seems like a children's book, and the assumption that it is in fact intended for kids is the only reason my rating isn't one star. A pleasantly sinister set-up about a boy being trapped in a labyrinth beneath a library soon descends into a daft, random story with no satisfying conclusion and no explanation. The illustrations are more artistic touches than images that actually illuminate the story - they look like the ...more
Kevin Xu
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. This is the reason that I read Murakami, for all the strange things like how a boy's typical simple trip into the local library turns out into a strange prison that he cannot escape. ...more
T.D. Whittle
*** Warning: this review contains a slew of spoilers ***

The Strange Library is sure to be engagingly familiar for most Murakami fans, regarding the set, the props, and the unlikely hero. There is a solitary, inward-looking boy; an ordinary public building containing a profound mystery; a hidden labyrinth; a sinister and grotesque man looming over the boy's life in a threatening way; a sheep man (I have to admit to a soft spot for Murakami's recurring sheep-man character -- in this story, he even
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Teresa
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Cecily
I wasn't going to read this, but after reading Cecily's review, I requested it from the library and I'm glad I did. The physical book itself is an interesting little art object, almost awkward to read at first before I figured out what to do with the outer flaps.

It doesn't matter to me if a particular age group does or doesn't seem to be a target. In our public library this book is shelved with the author's other works and that is just fine. Maybe I was a strange child (I still remember a friend
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Ram Alsrougi
It has elements of Kafka, Borges, Roald Dahl, Hillaire Belloc and Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, with a dash of Orwell (but one digit out). It looks like a beautifully designed and illustrated children's book, though it's rather dark for small children, and YA feels wrong as well.
I think it's a very odd little book for adults who like slightly sinister tales and want to recapture a taste of the frisson of fear they relished when young.
Haruki Murakami has a fascinating ability to break open the natural
...more
Ellie
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what to say about this one. I loved the actual format of the book-not one to get on Kindle! And the illustrations were striking. It's a fairy tale of a story with good and evil and loss and a kind of magic.

But I'm glad I got this book from the library-it took an hour to read (at most) and is not my favorite Murakami.

But then my feelings about it keep changing. It's my least favorite Murakami (I think) but the format is so interesting and fun it's a large part of how the story is to
...more
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91,273 followers
Murakami Haruki (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: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

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
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