The works written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami are among library readers very popular. In order to catch his phenomenon, I decided to pick up his short story „Birthday Girl“ and give an opinion on what I’ve read.
It’s not easy to express in words, what this book is all about. One might say that it just describes an ordinary workday at a restaurant in Tokyo and that’s it. The main character, introduced by the author in she-form, works at the restaurant as a waitress and this particular Friday happens to be her 20th birthday, which she has to spend at work. While the manager of the restaurant starts to feel sick, she’s asked to deliver dinner to the restaurant’s owner, a kind of surrealistic character, who gives her a chance to make one wish, that she can’t take back or change afterwards. This is a wish for a lifetime, and she makes it.
While reading this book, a bizarre fairy tale, if you want, you gradually start to feel yourself strangely, you want to believe, that’s not an illusion, but you feel a kind of magical and also disturbing atmosphere… In the middle of the book, where an additional character, a friend in I-form comes into play, you start to wonder, what was that… What have I just read? Who’s who? Which perspective is this story actually told from?
But hey, everything’s going to be fine at the end! Confusion has gone, you return to your everydayness and soon you have forgotten the whole story.
I would recommend this book to those who for various reasons prefer reading short texts in a pocketbook format.
Harvill Secker, 2019
Translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin
Check from the e-catalogue ESTER
Department of Literature in Foreign Languages