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First Person Singular: Stories

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  6,322 ratings  ·  956 reviews
A riveting new collection of short stories from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami. The eight masterful stories in this new collection are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator: a lonely man. Some of them (like With the Beatles, Cream and On a Stone Pillow ) are nostalgic looks back at youth. Others are set in adulthood--Charlie P ...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published April 6th 2021 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published July 18th 2020)
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Zachary Houle Some people, like me, have galleys or Advance Reader's Copies (ARCs) to review in advance of the book's publication.…moreSome people, like me, have galleys or Advance Reader's Copies (ARCs) to review in advance of the book's publication.(less)

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Murakami fans
There is something I find very calm and comforting about reading Murakami. Perhaps it is because the protagonists always have this refined aloofness about them, unshakable in the face of an abrupt surrealist maelstrom as they simply crack a single small beer and vibe with whatever befalls them. It’s a mood, really, and one I’d love to be able to embody. Murakami’s writing helps affect this mood, its soft and winding river of introspective prose is like a lullaby to anxieties, and the stories are ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Apr 05, 2021 rated it did not like it
Was Murakami high when he wrote these stories?

I DNFed a story because it started with this line:
"Of all the women I've known until now, she was the ugliest."

Seriously?! How do you even think of writing this line? And the word "ugly" has been repeated over and over again in the next few sentences. Whatever point the author is trying to prove in this story, I effing don't care.

***Until the 5th story, I was having a good time reading the book:

**My thoughts until then:

"Inexplicable, illogical events
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2021-read
English: First Person Singular: Stories
This collection consists of eight short stories, all of which - you guessed it - are told from the first person singular perspective. While the last one, the titular "First Person Singular", is new, the other seven have previously been published, some of them also in English. Per usual, I particularly enjoyed Murakami's melancholic ruminations about past events that, consciously or unconsciously, end up shaping a character, written in a Norwegian Wood-vibe.
Nat K

”Loving someone is like having a mental illness that’s not covered by health insurance.”

Is it only me, or does Murakami’s work seem to become even more dreamlike and philosophical over time? Or has my viewpoint and life experience changed the way I now read? It seems to me that Murakami - in his oh so dreamlike and eloquently esoteric way - ponders the imponderable even more than he did in previous books. His writing still takes us up paths and along thought patterns that don’t necessarily lead
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I have read by the author. The first was his novella, The Strange Library. I enjoyed both books.

First Person Singular: Stories contains eight short stories. I enjoyed the pace of all the stories. Each story was colorful and had rhythm. This was a fun read, for me.

I have several of this author's books on my "to read" list. I am looking forward to reading them in the near future.
Andrew Smith
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eight new short stories from a writer who I always find thought provoking, often surprising and occasionally unfathomable. I’m a big fan of Murakami’s novels, several of which would be amongst my all-time favourite books, but I’ve often found it hard to engage with his shorter pieces. I think it’s because at his best I find him to be such an immersive writer and I believe he needs a larger canvas to be able to provide such an experience. But any time I pick up something he’s written I know that ...more
The world can turn upside down, depending on the way we look at it. The way a ray of sunshine falls on something can change shadow to light, or light to shadow. A positive becomes a negative, a negative a positive.
First Person Singular: Stories ~~ Haruki Murakami


I love Haruki Murakami. Anytime he publishes a new work it’s cause for celebration in Kenny World. I was introduced to Murakami by my close friend, Srđan. One of the things we bonded over was a passion for Murakami. So, it’s only fit
May 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
[2.5] Did Murakami really write these stories? Or perhaps the collection was written by his mirror image, a not-quite-Murakami, a competent writer without wonder or soul. I detected a touch of philosophical intrigue that hints at Murakami but overall these mundane stories fall flat. I am rounding up to three stars only because I just can't make myself give Murakami only 2 stars. ...more
Banal – Mysterious – Inconsequential – Cryptic – Breezy – Therapeutic – Comforting : Among all these boats cradled this new book, making petite homes at one point and leaving the ocean to stretch the roof at another.

I wondered if the stories it carried bore the stamp of reality or the whiff of mendacity? An entire story hinged at an LP of With The Beatles in the hands of a young girl was too intimate to be fiction and yet, the expressive monkey, a staple of the Murakami world, of Shinagawa was
My first book by Haruki Murakami!! I saw it was available and I'm familiar with the author's name (by sight) so I hit that borrow button. I didn't know they're short stories.... This could possibly be good or really bad. In general, I'm not too crazy with anthologies and I probably can't judge if I like the writing or not. We'll see!

1. Cream - 3⭐ Piano girl and the old man. Weird. Feels like author's childhood story. Goosebumps.
2. On a Stone Pillow - 4⭐ Poetry girl and another man's nam
Roku Endo
It has eight short stories and I enjoyed some of them.
I recognized I do not like his description of women. ちょっと癪に障るんだよなあ。
The women characters in his story seem very similar and he doesn’t seem to have an idea that he updates them.
I like “Shinagawa Zaru(a monkey at Shinagawa)” and “Poems about Yakulto Swallows”(his favourite baseball team).
He wrote that “it is important getting to used to losing” in “Poems about Yakulto”. I like this thought. We should enjoy the moment whether you win or lose.
Sam Quixote
May 20, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First Person Singular is the worst short story collection Haruki Murakami has put out yet! All of the stories are boring, unimaginative, and so unmemorable. I finished this yesterday and I’ve already forgotten over half of the stories here.

Cream is about a guy who goes to see a girl but ends up talking to an old geezer who says something dumb about cream. On a Stone Pillow is about another guy who hooks up with another girl who writes poetry. Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova is about a jazz fan
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-5-stars
One word to describe this book: spellbinding.
Absolutely stunning!
I wish I could read Japanese, just to make sure that nothing was lost in translation. By the way, what a terrific translator!
This author is magnificent!
His passion is expressed between and within the lines with superb writing skills. His passion for music is absolutely marvellous!
This is a collection of 8 short stories. Seven were previously published on magazines or some periodicals publications. The last story, which is the title
Elyse  Walters
Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I thoroughly enjoyed these stories. They made for great breakfast company with….handpicked bing cherries from our neighbors tree, and leisurely lounging around the house reading….on a very hot day… ….100 degrees outside; nice and cool inside.

“Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey”, was one of my favorite stories, (warm luscious hot springs - tea - and a thoughtful charming talking monkey), > the fantasy pleasure < …..yep, totally enjoyable …
….Actually, I thought all eight stories were marvelous….wit
First, a confession. All along, as I was reading, I congratulated myself on finally reading a book by this heavyweight writer from Japan. Only when I reached the end and returned to GR did I realize my mistake.

Through the entire short story collection, I thought I was reading a Kazuo Ishiguro, who I endlessly confuse with Haruki Murakami. And it so happens that I have read a Murakami. Long ago. And was underwhelmed, even though that book seems quite popular. I'm speaking of the Beatles-like tit
L.S. Popovich
Not a good entry point for new readers. Along with his last collection, Men Without Women, in a lot of ways, it feels like Murakami is riding his own coattails. To sum up my thoughts: This collection doesn't enhance Murakami's reputation, neither does it compare to his first 3 great collections in English.

I'm not a Murakami basher. I would much rather melt Updike, Mailer, Roth, and Auster with the magnifying glass. If you are a true Murakami fan, there is enough in this collection to warrant a p
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it
First Person Singular is a middling short story collection by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Aside from a charming story where Murakami himself was the protagonist, about his lifelong love for baseball (The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection), and a somewhat creepy story right at the beginning of the book (Cream), this collection, though well-written, is otherwise mostly just filler.

One of the stories was so deranged it left me concerned about Murakami's mental health (Confessions of a Shinaga
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, short-stories

As is true of most people, I imagine, I had experienced a number of turning points in my life, where I could go either left or right. And each time I chose one, right or left. (There were times when there was a clear-cut reason, but most of the time there wasn’t.) And it wasn’t always like I was making a choice, but more like the choice itself chose me. And now here I was, a first person singular. If I’d chosen a different direction, most likely I wouldn’t be here. But still — who is that in the
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2021
Offbeat selection of short stories, impeccably written but odd.

A 3.5 for me; rounding up for imagination and writing.
Nada Elshabrawy
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, english
Though I thought I won’t enjoy this collection, I fell in love with it. The easy to follow, heartwarming, familiar Murakami voice always gets me.
chantel nouseforaname
Yo I love Murakami’s writing style.. he has a penchant for absurd sort of observations and creations that borderline on surreal and outside the box. It really gets you sometimes too, how poignant some of the moments he creates can be — A dude sitting at a bus stop in a remote area holding a bouquet of roses for a girl he hasn’t seen in years. Why is he even out there? A monkey stealing from women he likes. What!? LOL, that was my favourite story of them all.

All the stories were good in some way
Boy Blue
Apr 12, 2021 rated it liked it
My feeling is that we're seeing the decline of Murakami's powers. I noticed in his last two novels, The colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage and even moreso in Killing Commendatore, that his powers seemed to be dwindling. I particularly found that Killing Commendatore was a less accomplished re-write of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. As if Murakami was re-visiting the same stuff 30 years down the track but without the verve of his younger self. Which as an author who has a massive f ...more
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
The quality of the short stories varies from "best thing Murakami ever wrote" to "why the hell would anyone want to publish this". My favorites were Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova and Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey - both amazing short stories in the magical realism style that people love Murakami for. Would absolutely recommend reading these! The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection is the most boring thing I ever read, I am not interested in baseball and Murakamis thoughts about the sport are ...more
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Will review later.
Nabilah Firdaus
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
For some unknown reasons, I was extremely apprehensive about starting this collection but I ended up absolutely enjoying it.

First Person Singular is a solid collection of eight short stories that leans heavily towards slice of life genre although it doesn’t shy away from strange occurrences: a talking monkey who steals names, an encounter with an old man who simply says “a circle with many centers”, a man with memory disorder who is afraid that he might bash someone’s head with a hammer, just t
Interview with Murakami about this book, mainly: ...more
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
As a huge fan of Murakami, I snapped this up but reminded myself that short story collections can be hit and miss and more subjective than long-form novels; in fact, they frequently are, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this pithy and riveting selection. Who am I, who have I been, who will I be? These are the questions that preoccupy the first-person narrators of the eight stories in First Person Singular, the new short story volume by world best-selling author Haruki Murakami, who has been acclaim ...more
May 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
A star for each mildly enjoyable Murakami mini-creation entombed in this depressingly passable collection. Blurg.....
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Reading Murakami, there is always something mysterious and out of kilter in the best possible way.
Amy (Other Amy)
As it true of most people, I imagine, I had experienced a number of turning points in my life, where I could go either left or right. And each time I chose one, right or left. (There were times when there was a clearcut reason, but most of the time there wasn't. And it wasn't always like I was making a choice, but more like the choice itself chose me.) And now here I was, first person singular. If I'd chosen a different direction, mostly likely I wouldn't be here. But still - who is that in the ...more
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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:

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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