Book Review: First Person Singular

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

Every time Murakami releases a new book, I literally cry with happiness and wait to grab my copy like an excited child. 

First Person Singular, translated by Philip Gabriel, is a collection of eight short stories written in the first-person format by the renowned wordsmith Murakami. 

Haruki Murakami, the name behind the classics Norwegian Wood, 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore and many more, is back with his new collective theme of longing, belonging, memories and loneliness. From page one to the last, you’re enraptured into the golden era with a signature Murakami twist. 

Music has a significant role in many of the stories as he has tried to recreate the memories from his youthful days that is fully immersed into jazz albums. His admiration for baseball has also captured the essence in one of the stories. These engrossing tales flow to and fro between the author’s personal accounts and a fictitious character. 

I admire how Haruki brilliantly weaves magic through his words. Some stories are classic Murakami; they just etch deep into your soul. On A Stone Pillow, is one such narrative that talks in-depth about a fleeting encounter that left a lasting impression on the narrator.  

Similarly, If you’ve got a corner for music, you’d certainly love this new collection (especially the Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova story). 

While most of these stories were gripping, there was also some heavily distributed content on the heart. Take the Carnaval story, for instance. It begins with, ‘Of all the women I’ve known until now, she was the ugliest.’ I honestly wished he had used a better word here, but I also see the message he had been trying to convey in the end-to look beyond the façade and that not judge people at first glance.

Then there’s the other story, First Person Singular, which could’ve been a whole separate book. But this is precisely what Murakami does to you. He brings you the unexpected, weird little surprises you can only marvel at and want to explore further.

As a Murakami fan, I will never have enough of what he brings to the table and will always long for more.

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami was published on 6th April 2021 by Penguin Books Australia. You can purchase the book here.

Title: First Person Singular

Author: Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 256

MRP: 39.99$