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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  32,292 ratings  ·  2,224 reviews
Collection of twenty-four stories that generously expresses Murakami’s mastery of the form. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit his ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and relentlessly entertaining. Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, and an iceman, as well as the dreams that shape us ...more
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published July 2006)
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Ant A lot of his work is left bereft of moral or point, so if you don't like that you won't like him.…moreA lot of his work is left bereft of moral or point, so if you don't like that you won't like him.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Mekurayanagi to Nemuru Onna = Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Haruki Murakami

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: An unnamed adult narrator and his younger teen-aged cousin wait for a bus to take them to the hospital so the cousin can have his ear problem examined, an ailment he has had since he was young due to being hit in the ear by a baseball.

While waiting, the cousin inquires deeply about the narrat
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Ranee
Shelves: anthology
Reading the books of Haruki Murakami (born 1949) is like watching the films of Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998). The two are the most notable world-known artists in Japan.

In particular, reading the 24 stories included in this collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is like watching Kurosawa's 1990 film, Dreams three times. The 8 stories in the film are said to be based on the actual dreams of Kurosawa. In Murakami's Introduction to the English Edition of this book, he said that Ice Man, one of the 24,
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nenette by: Gift from KD
I have read good reviews about this book, but I just couldn’t relate to them. The book picked up towards the end, with really nice stories…But one has to live through “waste of time” pieces throughout the book (mostly for the first three quarters) before one is treated to the nice ones (what is glory without suffering?)

Since this is a collection of short stories, I've decided to rate it by story, and then take the average. Average rating overall is 2.54, which technically translates to 3 stars
Mar 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Here is a story of why I am the best friend ever.

Way back in aught 5 or so (oh my god, how was that a decade ago), I worked at Random House. I was and am still a smoker; I could and do tell so many stories about how smoking has directed and redirected the course of my life (here's one about books!).

Anyway. There was a guy at RH I knew a bit because we smoked at the same time, and eventually I learned that he was like the head of marketing for a bunch of the big imprints. At one point he made me
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian, read-2009
Reading Murakami (Haruki) is kind of like dreaming. This was a book of 24 of his short stories. What I noticed is that unlike some short story collections I've read, Murakami has the talent of writing a few first lines that just grab you and make you rush on with the story. But then what seems straightforward, say a simple love affair, ends up being just a firefly stuck in a jar or an endless trip to the south pole; the end sometimes has no relation to the beginning or no apparent relation. Some ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
I had heard a great deal about Murakami and I borrowed this book from my friend. Reading this book was such a great experience. The stories are so different from the work that I usually read and have a surreal dreamlike quality about them. I cannot help but feel that I may have not been able to comprehend some of the metaphors used. Nevertheless, I enjoyed most of the stories included in this book.

People are complex, emotions and human behavior might not follow logic always.

Beneath the façade o
L.S. Popovich
What is one to make of Murakami's short stories? His translator has stated that his reputation was made by his stories in Japan - apart from his super-successful novels. A brief survey of his total story output reveals that he is not interested in traditional story forms. Though many of his stories remain untranslated, we have so far received 4 volumes of them in English. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is probably my favorite of the lot.

It is a generous collection of 24 bizarre and unconventional
kwesi 章英狮
I like to read short stories since the day I entered college, because It takes me less time to finish them and plus I already feel the pleasure of reading. A research shows that Filipinos were short story lovers because of our current condition, fast paced world. I don’t know if I should nod while agreeing with the fact that we like short stories, but in the darkest side, I was one of the Filipinos who liked to read them.

What I really loved bout Murakami was his passion in writing novels and sho
Vishal V
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Murakami's fiction is all about natural presence of the surreal in ordinary lives. The outright absurd is readily accepted by many of the characters, creating some curious protagonists, bizarre stories, and a thoroughly entertaining read.

This is my first attempt at his short stories and frankly I am confused over some of the metaphors and symbologies in "Blind Willow, Sleeping Women" and a few others, but that I believe, is in itself the beauty of his writing. In most of his tales we are always
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This collection from Haruki Murakami was on my TBR explode list for March, and I only meant to flip through it. But after reading "The Year of Spaghetti," he pulled me in. Other favorites include "Birthday Girl," "Crabs," and "Chance Traveler."

(I think I've finally made it past the Murakami glut in my TBR pile chronologically, at least for a while.)
This collection includes twenty-three short stories written over almost thirty years (between 1880 and 2005). The stories are therefore very silly, in length, themes and forms of writing. But each novel immerses you - or not - in a universe halfway between dream and reality.
Sometimes I was captivated, sometimes not. Maybe some ingredients were missing; maybe I wasn't ready to swallow it all at the time either. And then, when the enchanting Murakami properly bewitched me, sometimes the end left m
Elida Karaivanova
I love Murakami’s characters and their loneliness, the silent suffering they go through and the fact that you are never really sure whether they are daydreaming, dreaming, having superpowers or are just being highly sensitive. Yet again, loneliness is one the main topics in Murakami’s work and this book is no exception – “Can you imagine how astonished the Italians would be if they knew that what they were exporting in 1971 was actually loneliness ?”, or the final paragraph of “The Year Of The ...more
Lee Klein
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of planting a willow tree in the yard in honor of our ninth ("willow") anniversary, wife brought this book into my life at the right time, or so it seems, since it felt right to return to Murakami after many years away. I've only read The Elephant Vanishes (circa 1997), After the Quake (circa 2003), and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (in 2008) -- I've always liked him but apparently not well enough to read another Murakami book in the past 12 years. Also, importantly, for ye ...more
Reem Ghabbany
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable read, 24 short stories some of them were deeply random and some were great. Most of the story had this really deep meaning that you do not catch right away.
I love short stories and I enjoyed Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart, so I decided to try this collection.

Reading these stories was like listening to a stoned student at some cheap beer joint which is usually full of such individuals. As you might or might not know, they're usually full of bullshit. Same can be said for most of these stories. They're just agonizingly dull. With each next one, I grew more and more bored. They're all just a flash of idea, a half-bred plot or character; there's little
Ryan Michael
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved most of these short stories. It seems like some of them are a bit over my head after some reflection, but they are unique and, as always with Murakami, beautifully written. Highly recommended to someone who likes his stuff, but also recommended if you are looking for a way to get into his stuff. Can't wait to get more into his collection ...more
Rakhi Dalal
I confess most of the stories didn't make any sense to me and this being my first Murakami, I felt a bit disappointed too. But was glad that I could finally finish reading something I had started. In that sense it was a breather of sorts. ...more
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to think a way to define this book ... I cannot think otherwise than as a "Short story Matryoshka" (Cultural information: matryoshkas are those typical russian wooden dolls of different sizes placed one inside the other). Because as the reading progresses you'll find stories inside other stories, maybe this is part of the originality of the writer.

His style stands out even from the way he entitled the stories, the titles are as imaginative as: The year of spaguetti, A perfect day for ka
3.5 star's ...more
I worked through this short story collection slowly, over several months. Perhaps it was just a shift in consciousness over those months interim, but the back-half of the collection was much better in quality (with only a few exceptions). Many of these stories were published in English in various magazines, most notably The New Yorker and Harper's from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Highlights of the collection:
Birthday Girl
The Seventh Man
Chance Traveler
Hanalei Bay
Shinagawa Monkey

**I mentio
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wish I could give this book more. I really liked some stories, such as the firefly, the one about the surfer, the mirror story and the one about the wave. My favourite remains however "the firefly" one because Murakami captures marvellously well the gap left by the death of their friend; the resulting proximity of the two who are left behind and their inability to fill each others' empty space. I just loved it. And I loved the ending. She was like the firefly. She took time to take flight, but ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A book of short stories. As ever with Murakami we get kooky, left field prose - talking monkeys stealing names or waves with evil intent. Unsettling and thought provoking.

For me the collection was patchy, a few stories didn't work, most were fine, and there were a couple of real gems.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Perfect Sunday consists of: Coffee & Great book.
Murakami does not disappoint.
Definitively I am not a big fan of short-stories.

2* Yesterday
4* Town of Cats
3* Kafka on the Shore
3* Norwegian Wood
3* Hunting Knife
4* Minha Querida Sputnik
5* The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
4* 1Q84
2* Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
TR After the Quake
Shatarupa  Dhar
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Your work should be an act of love, not a marriage of convenience.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of twenty-four, some short, some – a little – long stories.
The stories are as follows:
1. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (translated by Philip Gabriel)
2. Birthday Girl (translated by Jay Rubin)
3. New York Mining Disaster (translated by Philip Gabriel)
4. Airplane" Or, How He Talked to Himself as If Reciting Poetry (translated by Jay Rubin)
5. The Mirror (translated by Philip G
Althea Ann
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, surreal, dreamlike... Murakami excels at the art of the short story; and I'd definitely recommend this book as a good introduction to his work.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - One of the more surrealist works here. A young man has to take his younger cousin to a doctor's appointment - which leads him to recall visiting a friend in the hospital, years before. I know that doesn't sound surreal... but you have to read it.

Birthday Girl - Stuck working on her birthday, a young wait
Only Murakami can write a poignant story about a monkey stealing people's names.

I concur with Goodreaders who've given this collection otherwise mediocre reviews that with the exception of "Birthday Girl" in the beginning, the most complete and fulfilling stories are all lumped right at the end. "Chance Traveler," "The Kidney Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day," and "A Shinagawa Monkey" are excellent, especially if you're as disheartened by the rest of the collection as I was.

I'm surprised that
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, first-edition
It turns out I've read a bunch of the stories in "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" before -- almost half of them, I'd guess, and likely all in The New Yorker. It was nevertheless enjoyable to revisit a few of those, including "The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day," which I had strong memories of reading even before I read this book, and "A Shinagawa Monkey," which I'd forgotten about until I began rereading it.

Reading Murakami's book was not, however, a completely enjoyable experience. I've
24 short stories.


spring 2012
dip in dip out
tbr busting 2012
short stories

Tried this a couple of years ago however it seems that the timing was not right and put it on the back-burner. This time around gives a 3* and all the Marukami ingredients are in there:

Wells - check
Cats - check
Wishes - check
Ghosts - check
Earthquake and storm references - check

Finished: 20/4
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed dipping in and out of these short stories. The symbolism and clarity he writes with is unreal. Love this guy.
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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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