So, here we have two of Murakami’s earliest books placed back in print after thirty years. This reprint helps those outside Japan compare the gnomic author’s beginnings to his current work, without resorting to organ-sale prices for the original Kodansha English Library printing.
I was excited to read these, I must admit, largely because what’s presented are until-now missing parts of the author’s series of Rat novels. The problem is that they seem to offer not much more than a basic introduction to the characters, and a collection of random observations. There’s a lack of focus that’s frustrating (even by Murakami standards) and I assume this is why the books were out of English circulation for so long – apparently the author felt them unworthy of translation after the initial in-Japan run. (more…)