WYR: Dog Bite, Sheep Man & the Ottoman Empire

Some weeks I’m itching for a good mystery. Others I’m craving an emotional roller coaster. Or fantasy. Or historical fiction. Or goodness knows what. It might be brand new or something ancient or anywhere in between. In any case, it’s nice to share, so …

What’s Your Read?

I picked up a novella for a change of pace. Little did I expect the mind-boggling ride I was boarding. Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library left me continually thinking to myself I’ve had this dream before.

A nameless protagonist, traumatized in the past by a severe dog bite, wanders into the nameless city library after school to quickly sate his curiosity about taxes in the Ottoman Empire. He’s sent to see a nameless old man who leads him through a subterranean labyrinth to meet a nameless man in a sheep-suit and be imprisoned in a cell with three massive books and a ball and chain fastened to his ankle. A nameless and voiceless girl brings him meals and helps him plot his escape back to his nameless mother and  nameless pet starling.

Nothing has a name except the three books on tax collection in the Ottoman Empire. And yet, I remember each character, each frightening and hilarious threat to the nameless protagonist but do not remember a single one of the specifically listed titles of the fictional books. On top of it all, the visual presentation of this translation—large typewriter font, vibrant images covering entire pages—aided to push me way past caring whether or not the sequence of events made sense and headlong into a dreamland that I can’t escape.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

  Have a suggestion for my next read? What’s yours?

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