Celebrated Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami makes a return to his signature first-person narratives in his latest collection of short stories, ‘First Person Singular’. Most of the stories featured in this new release were originally published in Japanese magazine Bungakukai between 2018 and 2020, but have now been translated into English for the first time by Philip Gabriel.
The collection comprises eight stories in total including the title story, ‘First Person Singular’, which was previously unpublished. It’s Murakami’s fifth collection of short stories and it will be released worldwide in hardcover, ebook and audiobook on April 6 2021.
Though the stories are labelled as works of fiction, featuring moments of surrealism where fantasy and reality meld together, some make it harder to differentiate truth from make-believe. Pieces like ‘The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection’ – a series of bizarre epigrams apparently scribbled while Murakami watched his favourite baseball team lose game after game – are a strange mixture of autobiography and art.
The narrators in the other tales remain nameless, but you soon discover that they share striking similarities with Murakami himself – all males, often middle-aged, with some who have the same affinity for jazz music and baseball. This raises the question: are the stories really fictional or are they a different kind of memoir?
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