Haruki Murakami is a best-selling Japanese writer. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerusalem Prize, among others. Murakami's fiction is humorous and surreal, focusing on themes of alienation and loneliness. He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements. Murakami is the author of 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Men Without Women and many more. Alfred Birnbaum is an American translator who has translated works by Haruki Murakami, Miyabe Miyuki, and Natsuki Ikezawa. He has also edited the short story anthology Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction. Birnbaum is a professor of creative writing and translation at Waseda University's School of International Liberal Studies.
If Kafka were to find himself imprisoned in a novel that had been written by Raymond Chandler and was then forced to develop a sense of humor, the resultant voice might likely resemble that of the protagonist in this latest delight from one of Japan's leading contemporary writers. Something of a sequel to 1988's A Wild Sheep Chase ( LJ 10/15/89), this book features an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey living in a world glittering with technology in which something is wanting still. Fans of the first book will certainly want to read this one, although Dance Dance Dance stands quite well on its own. The relentless coyness and flippancy that characterized A Wild Sheep Chase gives way here to passages that are sometimes lyrical and an ending that is at once desperate, affirmative, and filled with the breath of life. Recommended for all serious fiction collections.-- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.
"A world-class writer who takes big risks. . . . If Murakami is the voice of a generation then it is the generation of Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo." -The Washington Post Book World
"A Japanese Phillip K. Dick with a sense of humor . . . [Murakami belongs] in the topmost ranks of writers of international stature." -Newsday "Loaded with . . . mystery, mysticism, sex and rock 'n' roll. . . . Fast-moving and funny. . . . The narrative voice . . . pulls like a diesel." -Los Angeles Times Book Review "An entertaining mix of modern sci-fi, nail-biting suspense, and ancient myth . . . a sometimes funny, sometimes sinister mystery spoof . . . [that] also aims at contemporary human concerns." -Chicago Tribune "The plot is addictive." -Detroit Free Press "There are novelists who dare to imagine the future, but none is as scrupulously, amusingly up-to-the-minute as . . . Murakami." -Newsday "[Dance, Dance, Dance] has the fascination of a well-written detective story combined with a surreal dream narrative . . . full of appealing, well-developed characters." -Philadelphia Inquirer "All the hallmarks of Murakami's greatness are here: restless and sensitive characters. Disturbing shifts into altered reality, silky smooth turns of phrase and a narrative with all the momentum of a roller-coaster. . . . This is the sort of page-turner [Mishima} might have written." -Publishers Weekly "[Murakami's] writing injects the rock 'n' roll of everyday language into the exquisite silences of Japanese literary prose." -Harper's Bazaar
In this impressive sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase , Murakami displays his talent to brilliant effect. The unnamed narrator, a muddled freelance writer, is 34 and no closer to finding happiness than he was in the previous book. Divorced, bereaved and abandoned by his various lovers, he is drawn to the Dolphin Hotel--a strange and lonely establishment where Kiki, a woman he once lived with, ``upped and vanished.'' Kiki and the Sheep Man, an odd fellow who wears a sheepskin and speaks in a toneless rush, visit the narrator in visions that lead him to two mysteries, one metaphysical (how to survive the unsurvivable) and the other physical (a call girl's murder). In his searchings, he encounters a clairvoyant 13-year-old, her misguided parents and a one-armed poet. All the hallmarks of Murakami's greatness are here: restless and sensitive characters, disturbing shifts into altered reality, silky smooth turns of phrase and a narrative with all the momentum of a roller coaster. If Mishima had ever learned the value of gentleness, this is the sort of page-turner he might have written. Paperback rights to Vintage. (Jan.)