The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami : My first ever Murakami experience
Updated: Sep 13
Imagine you are a nameless schoolboy. You go to an unnamed city library, and a lady librarian sends you to a creepy room to find a book that you are looking for. Your mother always tells you “If you don’t know something, go to the library and look it up.” So, you are now looking for a book that tells about the Ottoman tax system because you want to know how people from the Ottoman Empire used to collect taxes.
When you reach the creepy room, you meet a bald male librarian and he takes you to a sheepman and asks him to imprison you. You get scared because your mother is waiting for you at home. Who wouldn’t get scared to get locked in a creepy basement? The old man gives you three books named, “The ottoman tax system”, “The diary of an Ottoman Tax director” and “Tax Revolts and Their Suppression in the Ottoman-Turkish Empire.” If you memorize these books within a month, you will be released. The sheepman tells you that the old man won’t release you. He will eat your brain as it will be juicy with some knowledge.
“Because brains packed with knowledge are yummy, that’s why. They’re nice and creamy. And sort of grainy at the same time.”
This is what he says to you. Now you legit get worried thinking about your mum and your pet. Out of nowhere, you meet a pretty girl in that basement and chalk out an escape plan. I won’t tell what happens ahead, as that will be a spoiler.
This little book was surely captivating as a story, but the ending was weird. I read it twice and still didn’t get it. Throughout the story, you will enjoy the details and perfect storytelling, but it just doesn't click in the end. I think this book somehow ends with a hint of magical realism. I am not sure if this book was a dream, reality or just a random viewpoint of that boy. I didn’t understand. This book falls under children’s literature, but I am sure, It should not.
I have never read anything like this. I want to explore Murakami more now. I am convinced that he is different but a wonderful storyteller.