Issue 5 Fall 2006


Haruki Murakami’s Meaningful Metaphors

Haruki Murakami’s plots feel like modern-day fairy tales. Scott Esposito considers how Murakami’s plots come to resemble and evoke the inner minds of his characters.

Haruki Murakami’s Supernatural War

Ever since World War II ended, American novelists have used China, Italy, the Philippines, Dunkirk, Dresden, and many other battlegrounds to represent everything from the effect of racism on American society to the strength of the American family. Katie Wadell argues that Haruki Murakami introduces us to an altogether different warfront in novels such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and A Wild Sheep Chase.

A Short Guide to Murakami’s Short Fiction

One of our time’s most fecund writers, Murakami has composed a dizzying array of short fiction. Here, Matthew Tiffany runs down some of the best, making an excellent starting point for those looking for an entry into Murakami’s short works.

How Can We Read in an Age of Images?

How to reconcile the Internet’s love of the image with literature’s blocks and blocks of words? Finn Harvor has a few answers.


A Writer at War by Vasily Grossman

I. When the German army sped across the Soviet border in June 1941 in a double-cross that left the more-than-adequately forewarned Stalin shocked and a few of his most prominent generals conveniently scapegoated and summarily shot, Vasily Grossman, too, was caught unawares. The Ukrainian novelist was fat, brainy, and Jewish, credentials that were more counter [...]

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

In the introduction to the English edition of his new short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Haruki Murakami writes: “I find writing novels a challenge, writing short stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.” Yet if the individual stories are flowers in a garden, what is the collection, the mass of all these carefully planted terrains?

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

The challenge in reviewing a new book by Haruki Murakami is that one has a sense of writing for a group of people who already know about his work—Murakami-fanatics, if you will—and they have preconceived notions. They’re reading the review for tidbits, excerpts, news. Like writing a review of a new Star Trek movie, you’re writing to those who want to find out how this newest installment adds to the overall, larger story.

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

I. Clare Messud’s The Emperor’s Children is a novel that obstinately defies easy classification. It is, at various times, and often at once, a contemporary comedy of manners, a postmodern fairy tale, a murder mystery sans a body, and an apocalyptic canto. The novel begins with a tony dinner party in Sydney in March 2001, [...]

The Obstacles by Eloy Urroz

I. The Obstacles is the first novel translated into English by Mexican writer Eloy Urroz, who is one of five Mexican writers who took part in writing the Crack Manifesto—a manifesto which declares its signatories against the Latin American literary tradition of Magical Realism. The Obstacles is the story of two writers, Elias and Ricardo, [...]

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

I. Though I don’t know much about Australia, its origin seems an irresistible tale, one that begs novelistic retelling, either as a vast metaphor or as a historical panorama. In her new book The Secret River, Kate Grenville chooses the latter approach. The story deals with the colony of New South Wales, newly home to [...]

Visigoth by Gary Amdahl

I. “The imagination will not down,” William Carlos Williams writes in The Great American Novel. “If it is not dance, a song, it becomes an outcry, a protest. If it is not flamboyance it becomes deformity. If it is not art, it becomes crime. Men and women cannot be content, any more than children, with [...]

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner

I. Peter Orner’s The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo is a collection of vignettes loosely strung together like macaroni on yarn. It takes place in a boys’ primary school in Goas, a tiny outpost in Namibia’s desert, yet the childish setting belies the narrative’s nuanced artistry; each short chapter is titled by a character, a [...]

Tomorrow They Will Kiss by Eduardo Santiago

I. In Tomorrow They Will Kiss, Eduardo Santiago explores the inter-woven lives of six Cuban-American women by examining their relationships and their past in Cuba. Told from the perspectives of three of the six women, the narrative goes back and forth between different characters, blending the events of the past into present-day drama. Caridad, Imperio, [...]


The Zak Smith Interview

Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow was first published in 1973, three years before the birth of Zak Smith. Who would have guessed that almost three decades later Smith would make a pen-and-ink drawing for every page of Pynchon’s famous classic? I first heard about Smith’s illustrations, now housed in full at the Walker Art Center in [...]

Cormac McCarthy Full Coverage

Cormac McCarthy Full Coverage

The Lydia Davis Symposium

The Lydia Davis Symposium

Who Was David Foster Wallace?

Read Who Was David Foster Wallace?

Full Coverage: Roberto Bolano

Full Coverage: Roberto Bolano

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