The book picked up towards the end, with really nice storiesBut 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? Average rating overall is 2. However, based on my overall impression and personal thoughts about the book, plus the following statistics, I am more inclined to give this book just 2 stars: Number of stories rated as 1 star- 6; 2 stars-7; 3 stars-4; 4 stars -6; 5 stars And 2 stars it is!
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Synopsis[ edit ] "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman"[ edit ] 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. The bus ride takes them through much hilly terrain and gives the narrator time to think about how he developed a close bond with his cousin.
After the cousin checks in, the narrator reminisces on what happened the last time he visited a nearby hospital. After the operation, the girlfriend tells a narrative-poem about a woman who sleeps indefinitely because a "blind willow" sends its flies to carry pollen to her ear, burrow inside, and put her to sleep.
After the cousin returns from the check-up, the two cousins lunch. As the bus taking them home approaches, the narrator begins to daydream of how he and his friend were careless with a gift of chocolates for the girlfriend many years ago.
At the end of the year, the man returns the suit to his friend and they talk about superstitions and T. They discuss this "killing" before they go their own way. In the final section, a press release-style passage tells of miners trapped underground as the outside world tries to save them. She has an idiosyncratic habit of crying for a set amount of time every so often and he has a peculiar practice of reciting "poetry" under his breath and not remembering any of it.
One day she decides to write down what he says and they learn it is about airplanes. They try to make meaning of it but they conclude that he must mention airplanes for some ineffable reason. That day, she also cries twice, the only time this happens in all the time the two are acquainted. His job was simple: patrol the premise at nine P.
During a windy night in October, while he is patrolling the campus, he sees himself in a mirror by the entrance. At first, he is surprised but after a few minutes he becomes horrified: the person in the mirror is not him.
In a panic, he drops his cigarette, smashes the mirror, and rushes back to his quarters. In the morning he learns that there are no signs of a mirror from the previous night. Because of this incident, the man states that he does not have any mirrors in his house. In a frame story, the classmate tell about his relationship with his girlfriend Yoshiko; most people thought they were ideal because of excellence in so many things but it was, in fact, the opposite. The last time the classmate decides to bring up sex is right before they drift apart and eventually break up; Yoshiko is adamant but tells him that she will sleep with him after she is married.
When they are both in their late twenties, Yoshiko calls him after she is married, asking him to come over to her apartment while her husband is away; she is willing to keep her promise. The classmate feels that it would not be the same so the extent of their tryst remains erotic touching. When the classmate leaves her apartment that day, he knows he will never see her again; he sleeps with a prostitute that evening before continuing on with the rest of his life.
On the afternoon of the day before they are set to return to Tokyo , while his wife is taking a nap, the narrator goes for a swim in the ocean. He eventually finds himself on a raft with an obese but healthy American woman and they talk. They talk about their respective personal lives before the narrator returns to the hotel to spend the evening with his wife. The narrator wakes up past midnight and is unable to continue sleeping so he goes out for a walk; he runs into the son at the beach bar and converses with him.
The son talks about how he and his mother are staying there indefinitely and his philosophy regarding their relative idleness when they stay at these types of resorts. He finally shows an ornate hunting knife to the narrator and asks him to cut something for him.
After hacking away at a number of things, the son tells about a recurring dream he has: there is a "knife" stuck in his head but he is unable to pull it out no matter how hard he tries. When they arrive, they notice that there is no longer a baby kangaroo and are disappointed. After they realize that the baby is asleep, they agree to grab a beer somewhere together.
A secretary for the "boss" emerges from a bath and tells the man he has to give a password to meet the "boss. When the secretary tells the "boss" over the intercom, it is revealed that the "boss" is a palm-sized dabchick and he comments to the secretary that the man is late. Izumi suggests to the man that they quit their jobs and go live on a Greek island for a few years with their savings; he agrees.
On the airplane flight to the island, he has an anxiety attack, scared of a new start in a faraway land. One day during their stay in Greece, the man reads a story in the newspaper to Izumi about a local woman who was eaten by her cats after she died thus leaving her famished pets trapped in her apartment.
Izumi says that it reminds her of a story a nun told her when she attended Catholic school: the nun says if you are stranded on an island with a cat, do not share food with the cat as it is not "chosen by God.
That night, he wakes up and finds Izumi missing; he also hears music coming from the top on a nearby hill and decides to make the trek to the summit to find the source of the melody. On the way up the hill, he experiences a trance in which he remembers his old life. When he reaches the top and is unable to find a source, he returns to his apartment and thinks of cats eating him alive as he tries to fall asleep alone.
His example is of an actual aunt at a wedding; at that wedding companions tell of their own various "poor aunts. Further, no matter how hard he tries, he is unable to stop himself from vomiting the food he ate earlier in the day.
He takes time off from work and stays at a hotel but the vomiting and calls do no stop. One the final day of his ordeal in July, he receives the final mysterious call; he is asked by the voice "Do you know who I am?
Both conclude that the ordeal the man went through his some hidden meaning and agree that it could again happen to either of them out of the blue. When he was ten and lived in a small, seaside town most likely in Shizuoka Prefecture , he had a close friend named K.
One day, a typhoon hits the area and while their town is in the eye , they go down to the beach; the seventh man is told by his father to return to the house as soon as winds pick up. While examining items of the beach, the seventh man sees a wave huge wave form and warns K by screaming to him but his warning falls on deaf ears; K is swallowed by the wave while the seventh man, on higher ground, is spared.
A second wave forms but dies the moment before it is to hit the seventh man and in that moment he sees an apparition of K reaching out to him before he faints. The seventh man wakes up a week later in the care of his family and learns that K disappeared without a trace. By the end of the year, he moves away to Komoro to get away from the town; he stays in the city for more than forty years but is still haunted by nightmares of K.
Despite the anguish he feels with merely possessing them he takes it with him back home to Komoro. He returns to the beach once more and surrenders himself to the water by falling face-first into the ocean. The seventh man finishes the story by telling his audience to not turn our backs on fear and not close our eyes when it strikes.
He sometimes imagines that people are knocking at his door, including dates, William Holden , or complete strangers. He receives a phone call in December of that year from an ex-girlfriend of his friend; she wants to know where to find him so she can get the money he owes her. The man does not tell her where he is despite knowing because he does not want to start more trouble and makes an excuse saying that he cannot talk because he is cooking spaghetti; he hangs up and never hears from her again.
He is imprisoned after the end of the war by the Chinese Army but is released in ; he returns to Japan and a year later and gets married. Tony Takitani is born in and his mother dies three days later. Because of this unfortunate event, Tony grows up without a true parent as his father is often away on musical tours and does not know much about being a father.
Despite this, Tony is able to become a great illustrator and secures a well-paying job as a technical illustrator.
When Tony is thirty-seven years old, he falls in love with a twenty-two-year-old woman who visits his office on an errand. After pulling some strings to have her visit again, he asks her out to lunch. After a few dates he proposes to her; although unsure at first, she eventually agrees. For several years they are able to both live a carefree life, but when Tony points out to her that she buys an astronomical number of dresses and shoes, she begins to become self-conscious; she dies in an automobile collision shortly thereafter.
He tells her to take seven dresses and seven pairs of shoes for the week and to begin working tomorrow. After she leaves, he looks at the clothing and reconsiders; he calls the woman to tell her that he has rescinded the job offer but she is free to keep the dresses and shoes she has already taken for the week. After doing so, he feels that he is now truly alone.
They learn that the company who makes Sharpie Cakes wants a new recipe and will award over two million yen for the winning recipe. The man makes his own Sharpie Cakes and gives two batches to the company. He is called into the office and is told that his Sharpie Cakes are popular among the younger employees of the company but must pass one final test to be considered Sharpie Cakes. The man is escorted to a secure room with giant crows who only eat Sharpie Cakes. His recipe is presented to the birds and it causes a frenzy among them, causing his recipe to be dismissed from the competition.
After exiting the company building, he decides that he will only make and eat food he wants to eat and not think about whether "crows" like it.
The Ice Man is able to tell her everything about herself bar her future during their conversation. After being married for a while, they are unable to conceive a child. The woman suggests that they go to the South Pole for a vacation. After weeks of planning, she tries to back out but the Ice Man tells her they have already committed too much and they end up flying there together. At the South Pole, there are scarce traces of an Ice Man settlement, but the Ice Man feels at home for the first time.
She knows that her new family will never leave the South Pole. They eat at that same restaurant three straight days, and on their final night in the city-state, the man wakes up sick; he vomits the food content in the hotel toilet.
He then notices that there are countless "worms" clinging to the crab meat which causes him to throw up bile; he gulps down mouthwash and flushes multiple times before returning to the bedroom.
While observing the woman sleeping and the passing clouds, he resolves that he will never eat crab again. He tells this to amuse the girl he "dates" who goes to a different university than him and afterward they explore Tokyo together on foot. Afterward, they say goodbye as she departs by train back to her apartment. However, the best friend committed suicide and he suspects this causes the girl to feel a disconnect with him because he was the last one to see the best friend alive and not her.
They saw each other a few times after his death but nothing meaningful came from such "dates. With just the two of them sharing dinner and alcohol, she loquaciously talks for hours past midnight; when the boy interrupts her to say that he needs to catch the last train home, she does not really hear him and continues speaking before she suddenly stops; she then sobs, and the boy does his best to comfort her and they end up having intercourse.
He is shocked to learn that she is a virgin and this causes them further awkwardness; they spend the rest of the night with their backs to each other. He leaves a note the following morning before exiting her apartment. He receives a letter response from her at the end of July telling him that she is taking a "leave of absence" from her university studies to spend time at a sanatorium in Kyoto.
She also thanks him for his companionship and also asks him not to seek her out before ending with "goodbye. His roommate gives him a firefly in a jar and tells him to take care of it. When it is dark, he goes to the top of the dorm building to release the firefly but it takes forever to move. When it finally does leave the jar, he reaches out and tries to touch the darkness. He gives a personal anecdote about strange, life-changing experiences.
While serving as a writer-in-residence at a college in Cambridge, Massachusetts from to , Murakami frequented jazz clubs.
A hole in the middle of the Pacific
The narrator is typical too: an anonymous man with a passion for jazz. His vomiting lasts 40 days and 40 nights, is accompanied by frightening prank calls, and ends as mysteriously as it began - as does the story itself. The two friends can find no explanation for the curse, and the prank caller remains unidentified. It might sound a disappointing narrative - and Murakami can seem disappointing at first - but "Nausea " is a story that sticks in the mind, and in this, too, it is characteristic. Has the serial adulterer been cursed, or does his nausea have nothing at all to do with his predilection for deceptive seduction? Murakami never says, and the result, as in so much of his work, is profoundly memorable.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
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