The strange library….
What initially attracted me to this little book, “The Strange Library” by Haruki Murakami, was the lack of bumf on the cover. You know the stuff, “pulse-pounding action” and “heart-stopping suspense” are my particular favourites. Actually, if you consider it, why would anyone want to risk their life by reading a book that promises heart-stopping suspense?
You curl up on a rainy day with what promises to be a good read, and wind up dead of a stopped heart. It doesn’t really hold up as a selling point, does it? Perhaps publishers could just cut to the chase and print “This book will kill you dead!” on the back cover. I know I’m rambling, but book–bumf amuses me.
To Murakami’s Strange Library; this literary diversion can be read in about twenty minutes, and the only bumf on the cover reads: “All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.” We all regularly go to our library to borrow some books, don’t we…and I’ve seen my share of strange things at our library, but nothing like this.
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a pitch-black labyrinth beneath our library, and I certainly hope none of the librarians have a penchant for creamy, well-educated brains. The Strange Library has about eighty pages, no two of which are even remotely alike. The pages feature built-in dog-ears, coffee stains, and what appear to be peanut brownie crumbs – you know, those little titbits of food left for you by previous readers.
Because The Strange Library is so short, you could locate it in the M fiction section, relax in one of the library’s comfy chairs, and enjoy it without having to take it out. That way, you’d avoid the risk of returning it late, and you wouldn’t suffer the wrath of the scary, brain-eating librarian…
Reviewed by Keith Smith