Synopsis: From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami–a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, bestselling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.
Huge thank you for Random House Canada for this ARC!
The Strange Library is certainly one of Murakami’s more unique reads, but I’d argue for such a short book there’s a lot going on, a many mysterious left to the imagination. Actually, this book is insanely imaginative and kind of disturbing, but that’s ultimately what kept me turning the pages.
A kid goes into a library and is essentially taken hostage and forced to read books about taxes in the Ottoman Empire. Of course, he has an ill mother at home and a strong will to escape the hellish library so that he can make it home to her. He meets a voiceless girl and a sheep man, both with a desire to help him escape, and it’s a pretty fast journey.
The translation was one of my favourite aspects of this book, if only because it has this whimsy, creepy sort of tone to it. I mean, being trapped in a library should be a book lover’s dream, but for our nameless hero, it’s an absolute nightmare knowing that his capture is a man who wants to suck the knowledge from his brain. Yeah, disturbing.
This is a really fast read, and a fun one for the most part. It definitely not Murakami’s best work, but it has such a unique presentation with half the book filled with artwork and the other half text. Plus reading it requires the reader to play around with it for a bit. It’s surprising nifty! The ending, however, I admit, it was completely unsatisfying, though that may be because the story is so darn short.
While I don’t think The Strange Library will be for every Murakami fan, I do think it offers a fun, morbid take on libraries and it’s staff. There’s definitely some quirkiness here, and for the right Murakami fan, this book is sure to delight.