Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Murakami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Murakami. Show all posts

29 January, 2012

Haruki Murakami, "The Ice Man" and "Lederhosen"

Listened to Jane Curtin read "The Ice Man" on Selected Shorts. "The Ice Man" tells of a woman who meets and marries a man. Throughout the story, the ice man is treated as though actually made of ice. It's real and dreamlike simultaneously. Hannah Tinti, the guest with Isaiah Sheffer, said that the story is about loneliness that one can feel even inside marriage. I agree; I thinks that is a nice assessment.

I read "The Ice Man" again, Oct. 27, 2013, and realize that it is more complex than I at first thought. A young woman from Japan meets a man, the Ice Man, finds him intriguing and eventually marries him. No one thinks the marriage is a good idea. They eventually go to the South Pole on a trip but remain and she becomes pregnant. The wife, never named, experiences incredibly loneliness. However, at the South Pole, the Ice Man has become more gregarious. I think the story shows different aspects of living in the past, not living in the past and most importantly how two married people affect one another's personality. It's almost like a third person is in the mix. We can only hope that the child offers some relief to her loneliness.

The story, “Lederhosen,” was read by Aasif Mandvi. It was funny and entertaining. I don't have a copy of "Lederhosen" so I couldn't follow along which is my preference when listening to a story.

10 July, 2009

Ryu Murakami, "At the Airport"

The lead short story in the summer 2009 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story is by Ryu Murakami entitled “At the Airport.” Yui-chan, a Japanese divorcee with a four-year old son works in the sex trade at an image club and meets a man, Saito, who likes her and becomes a regular.

Atmosphere is built with details of a busy airport; social stratum is revealed by details of the other waiting passengers. Layers of symbolism add to the richness of the seemingly simple story.

The present tense, first-person method creates empathy with the reader and the short amount of time portrayed—the span of a woman waiting for a flight and the person who is to accompany her—builds suspense. Yui-chan sits in the waiting area and watches other passengers leave to board their flights and move through their lives. Is Saito going to make the flight? Yui-chan must sit and wait as she does not have her ticket.

The story is translated by Ralph McCarthy.

I recommend this story and believe it will become one of my favorites.