16.May.2010 Short Sunday: Sleep by Haruki Murakami


Back in my high school days, I was so into mountain hiking and camping it drove my parents crazy. It wasn’t so much about the activities, more about how unsafe it was for a bunch of teenagers to hike faraway mountains considering how wild these places are in Indonesia. There isn’t much organization or safety net at all. Combine that with youth sense of adventure and carelessness, it’d make any parents squirm.

Anyway gone are the days when I needed to slip out in the dawn and faced all the dramas before and after each adventure. I have grown many more years and Australia is as safe as snug. My parents can breathe easily.

I haven’t gone camping or mountain-hiking for a long while, only some bush-walking (To clarify, mountain-hiking is sort of like bush-walking with much higher elevation and takes longer time. For me back then it ranged from 12 hours to 2 days (we had to camp midway)), so I got excited when we bought a small tent on sale. I built them on our backyard, threw in some quilts and pillow, and spent the rest of Saturday afternoon yesterday inside the tent, reading. Funnily it was actually warmer inside the tent under the mild sun than inside the house (we’re entering winter) so I was happy to stay there for hours. It was bliss.

I read one short story from Haruki Murakami‘s short sollection The Elephant Vanishes titled Sleep. It’s about a housewife who finds that she can’t sleep one day and starts to read a lot during the night when everybody is asleep. It’s recommended to me by Rob, you can read his review here. I thought the story was a typical Murakami, with dreams and weird things happening. I wasn’t fond of the ending (also my problem with most Murakami’s works), but it was a fun story. How good is it to not have to sleep, ever? I would love that and spend it reading! Just like the woman character in the story. We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping. Without that, we’d practically have our life extended by a third. That’s a lot!

In the story there are references to Anna Karenina, which the character spends the most time reading. I’ve been wanting to read that for a long time but have not so I was worried of spoilers throughout the story, but it wasn’t too bad. Any interest to for Anna Karenina read-along? Next year maybe?

4.5 stars

Have you read any Murakami’s short story? Which one is your favorite?

In Short Saturday I will journal my journey to find 5-star quality short stories. Unlike my book reviews, I will talk more about my thoughts and what I learn, why I choose the story and how I come upon it. Unlike books, I’m willing to take more risk for shorts, because they are.. well.. short, so I won’t waste too much time if I don’t like them. Expect to see a lot of trash and hopefully, some gems. As it is now, I am not a fan of short stories. Dare I say, yet? But hey, like people say, it’s all about the journey, not destination. (which Michelle is joining, yay)
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There are 22 Comments to "Short Sunday: Sleep by Haruki Murakami"

  • Haven’t read any of his short stories, but thanks for pointing me to the direction of this one. It sounds wonderfully weird.

    By the way, reading in the tent sounds absolutely amazing. The weather here isn’t summer-y yet, so I can’t go out and read yet… well, I can, but I won’t be as comfortable as I’d be in bed.
    .-= [anothercookiecrumbles´s last blog: Stieg Larrson – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest] =-.

    • mee says:

      Here it is quite chilly because we’re entering winter. But one thing good about Australia (or Sydney) is that it normally has a lot of sun in the afternoon. And the winter is mild compared to other four-season countries. Reading in the tent was amazing yes! I look forward to next weekend. I might make it some kind of weekend ritual ;D

  • claire says:

    I wanted to read Anna Karenina last year, but other books got in the way. Next year might be feasible. I know both of us are fully booked the rest of the year now. At least, for something that long? :D
    .-= [claire´s last blog: Thinking about things] =-.

    • mee says:

      Claire, fully booked we are for this year! Lol. I haven’t checked the number of pages for Anna Karenina (don’t have a copy too). I just assume it’s long. Who knows, it may be not as long as we think! I’m gonna remind you about it again next year :)

  • Steph says:

    I didn’t realize Murakami had written any short fiction, but I’m definitely intrigued! Although, personally, I really love sleeping… I can see the benefits of not having to sleep, but I love my bed! Also, I see you have The History of Love in your stack – that’s a great one!
    .-= [Steph´s last blog: What We Watched: April 28 – May 15] =-.

    • mee says:

      Steph, surprise, a few people I meet in real life actually know him as a short-story writer. Some people prefer his short stories than his novels. And actually Murakami himself admitted that he preferred to write short story than novel. I haven’t read many of his shorts, but I loved so much the first that I read called On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.

      I love sleeping too, but wouldn’t it be great if sleeping is an option rather than requirement? Lol. Yes I’m reading The History of Love and loving it!

  • charley says:

    Reading in a tent sounds great! I have not read any of Murakami’s short stories, although I have Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman on my shelf. I think my next Murakami will be Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
    .-= [charley´s last blog: The Long Goodbye] =-.

    • mee says:

      charley, what a coincidence! I intend to read Hardboiled Wonderland as my next Murakami too! I used to have Blind Willow Sleeping Woman but I lent it to a friend and it’s never returned :(

  • Suko says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. I would love to be able to forgo sleep and read all night instead–but the next day would be too awful!
    .-= [Suko´s last blog: Friday Hop and More] =-.

    • i LOVE the picture!

      i have The Elephant Vanishes sitting on my shelf, but haven’t read it yet. one of these days… as for Anna Karenina, i tried reading it a while ago and just couldn’t drag myself through it. i might be willing to give it another try if it’s for a readalong, though.
      .-= [lisa (the little reader)´s last blog: In My Mailbox #14] =-.

      • mee says:

        lisa, I find read-along does help you to go through a book. It would be great if we can read it together next year!

    • mee says:

      Suko, that’s why I would love it if we don’t have to sleep haha.

  • Mark David says:

    Lol! Loved this post. At least in my case, I was already older when I got into hiking so my parents didn’t really scold me for leaving so early in the morning and coming home at midnight all rough and dirty :D

    Hey, let me know how you like Elephant Vanishes. It’s one collection I’m quite curious about!

    If you’re reading Anna Karenina next year, I’m definitely in :)
    .-= [Mark David´s last blog: Review: The Maid] =-.

    • mee says:

      David, “scold” is a total understatement for me haha! The thing is the mountain was pretty far from the city, so I would go for more than a day. Sometimes a few days.

      I borrowed The Elephant Vanishes from the library so I’m not sure if I have time to read all the stories, but I will definitely read a few of them. It’s one book that I’ve been considering to buy, because I like the font of the story titles inside the book (what an odd reason). But as you know, I try really hard not to buy more books!

      Well well do I sense Anna Karenina happening next year?! :D

  • Stujallen says:

    the only short iv read is the piece brought together in the what we talk about when we talk about running ,all the best stu
    .-= [Stujallen´s last blog: world cup of writers -Slovenia] =-.

  • Mae says:

    Anna Karenina has been sleeping by my pillow (there is now a stack of books by pillow. It’s getting bad.) since January. I keep meaning to read it and I’m hoping to read it soon particularly since ‘Android Karenina’ is coming out soon. Oh dear.
    .-= [Mae´s last blog: Reading Patterns] =-.

    • mee says:

      Oh Mae, the horror! I just heard about Android Karenina! Sorry, I really don’t understand the whole classic rip-off thing. I hope you get to read the real Anna Karenina before the fake one.

  • Novroz says:

    I haven’t read this one yet, there are so many great short stories by Murakami, I find it difficult to choose…but your post makes me want to write my top 5 murakami’ short story
    .-= [Novroz´s last blog: Random Hollywood 2] =-.

  • Novroz says:

    I want to read one more Short Story collection by Murakami before writing down my Top 5. I’ll check if Elephant Vanished is in the Library next Monday :)
    .-= [Novroz´s last blog: Top 5 of EVERYTHING] =-.

    • mee says:

      It’s great to know that you have Japanese Foundation Library as your source. I love JPF Sydney too :)


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