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A Wild Haruki Chase: Reading Murakami Around the World Paperback – April 1, 2008

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About the Author

The Japan Foundation, the only organization in Japan engaged in international cultural exchange in every region of the world, is contributing to world peace by promoting dialogue and interaction between Japanese and other peoples through the medium of culture. It consists of 19 overseas offices in 18 countries, with headquarters in Tokyo, an office in Kyoto and two language institutes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193333066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933330662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,780,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on April 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Much is often made of Murakami Haruki and his novels as a worldwide phenomenon, and some mention of how many languages his novels have been translated into is part and parcel of just about any blurb about the author. And yet this short little volume is one of the first and only books (in English at least) to take this fact seriously as a subject of reflection in its own right. Based somewhat on some of the presentations given at a 2006 symposium hosted by the Japan Foundation, "A Wild Haruki Chase" consists of an enjoyably random selection of articles by various people variously involved with Murakami's fictional world--as translators, as fellow novelists, as scholars, as actors (in the film "Tony Takitani"), as reporters and amateur marketing analysts, and so on.

As is common with books of this sort of format, the quality is also a bit randomly variable. Jay Rubin's introduction is nice, as deeply reflective as it is deceptively offhand and refreshingly facetious. Richard Powers offers some intriguingly thought-provoking and speculative meditations on Murakami's fiction, globalization, and the complexity of the human brain. Many of the other articles are interesting in their own ways, though sometimes perhaps a bit unpolished and loosely organized. That said, perhaps that's an advantage. Like Murakami's fiction itself, this casual, rambling style can startlingly open up into sudden insights and instructive perspectives--plus, some sense of the fun of such a symposium comes through therein.
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Format: Paperback
I was a little surprised that this book was actually much smaller than I'd anticipated. I think originally I was under the impression that it would be mainstream hardback size and would contain dozens of pictures of his book covers from other countries- as it is written in English, there's hardly any reason for primarily the English/American covers to comprise half of the photos. However, the written content was quite interesting. It was especially gratifying to read Philip Gabriel's perspective on the matter of translation and the massively complex process involved with interpreting and rewriting the words and dreams of this masterful author. One point that is pervasive throughout the essays is that the translators are rarely acknowledged for the work that they do, and are certainly a vague afterthought in relation to Murakami's books. They are the fundamental key in devouring his novels for the international readers, and getting to glimpse their thoughts on his works and his impact was wonderful. A very nice piece addition to a Murakami collection, but by no means a must.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of essays is an easy introduction to the academic world of translating and analyzing Murakami. Needless to say, some essays are more interesting than others; the essays delineating Murakami's rise in popularity in his own country and other places are trivial and just okay; however, I really enjoyed some of the analyses about neurological soul-sharing and how Murakami was inspired by Lu Xun.

The details of the Murakami symposium are extraneous yet cute at the same time. I couldn't help but smile when reading that the symposium attendees insisted on visiting the hotel that might have inspired the Dolphin Hotel from "A Wild Sheep Chase" and "Dance Dance Dance". This collection of essays is also an attempt at expressing the inexplicable feelings that many readers experience when reading Murakami. This book is an interesting read that would help me enjoy and appreciate Murakami more when I read his works the second time around.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harkius VINE VOICE on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is marketed as criticism of the literature of Haruki Murakami. Don't be fooled. There is one, count them, ONE article in this little hodgepodge that would qualify as literary criticism, linking Lu Xun and Haruki Murakami (strangely, the author's article suggests that Lu Xun was one of Murakami's favorite authors, despite the fact that he was merely named as an author that Murakami had read...in one interview).

The collection rambles, yes, but not in a good way. Instead, it goes from a nice discussion about neuroarchitecture that mirrors the nature of the characters of Murakami's masterpieces, to a market analysis suggesting that more Japanese authors would do well in the US, as long as book makers don't simply flood the market with Manga and anime (what, precisely, does that have to do with Murakami? Anyone?).

The articles themselves run toward bad. They lack real scholarship (as can be seen by the dearth of footnotes, and they are poorly written in general. They leap from topic to topic like a squirrel monkey, or from logically supportable comment to pure speculation like a sophomore in high school.

Yes, Murakami is read around the world. Yes, he is popular. No, that does not mean that this book is worth while or that it contributes ANYTHING. The only reason to read it is if you are a Murakami fanatic. If you really want to read something approaching a literary discussion of Murakami, pick up Jay Rubin's The Music of the Words, or Suter's Japanization of Modernity: Murakami Haruki between the United States and Japan (if you can find a copy...it's actually her thesis).

Not recommended for anyone except fanatics, who will read just about anything.

D-

Harkius
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