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altheaann

altheaann

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A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Snow in May: Stories
Kseniya Melnik
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami Wonderful, surreal, dreamlike... Murakami excels at the art of the short story; and I'd definitely recommend this book as a good introduction to his work.

Contents:
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - One of the more surrealist works here. A young man has to take his younger cousin to a doctor's appointment - which leads him to recall visiting a friend in the hospital, years before. I know that doesn't sound surreal... but you have to read it.

Birthday Girl - Stuck working on her birthday, a young waitress is called upon to bring the reclusive restaurant owner his dinner. And she's offered a gift, of sorts. What is it? Don't expect to find out.

New York Mining Disaster - A young man who owns no formal suit has to borrow one five times in one year from his friend who likes to go visit zoos during typhoons - each time for a funeral. Then, a woman at a party tells him she killed someone. Then, a vignette related to the title. OK, I gotta admit this one did not make logical sense, unless you look at reading a story in much the same was as one might experience listening to experimental jazz. Which, I suspect, might very well be how Murakami looks at stories, at times.


Aeroplane:Or, How He Talked to Himself as If Reciting Poetry - A man is having an affair with an older,married woman. She tends to cry mysteriously. She tells him he talks to himself, although he's not aware of doing so. More surrealism.

The Mirror - A nightwatchman has a supernatural(?) experience. Can't say too much about it without giving it away, but yes, there's a mirror, and this is hands down one of the best 'ghost stories' I've ever read.

A Folklore for My Generation: A Prehistory of Late-Stage Capitalism - In college, the narrator always thought that two of his classmates seemed to be the most perfect students - and naturally, they seemed to share a perfect relationship. However, when he meets one of those classmates, years later, he hears the story from a different point of view.

Hunting Knife - At a vacation resort, a man on vacation with his wife notices a strange couple of guests staying at the same hotel: an elderly mother and her disabled son. Again, a story that's weirder than you might think.

A Perfect Day for Kangaroos - Sometimes, you should do something immediately, and not wait for the perfect day, because then, it'll be too late. But after all, if it's too late, life goes on.

Dabchick - This one crosses the line from surreal into absurd. It really sounds like one of those dreams that you have that make total sense while you're dreaming it, but after you wake up you realize it was completely ridiculous. I would totally have this dream, too, since I really need a better job right now.

Man-Eating Cats - A couple have an affair. When it's discovered, their marriages end, and they take off to Greece. But sitting pointlessly in Greece isn't necessarily as idyllic as it might seem. And it might end up stranger than you expect.

A 'Poor Aunt' Story - A meta-story about the writing process. Not my favorite in the collection. (But not bad enough to cause a star-docking).

Nausea 1979 - It might be a horror story about a man suffering a curse. Or it might not. There is, indeed, vomiting, either way.

The Seventh Man - "In my case, it was a wave," he said. "There's no way for me to tell, of course, what it will be for each of you. But in my case it just happened to take the form of a gigantic wave. It presented itself to me all of a sudden one day, without warning, in the shape of a giant wave. And it was devastating."
This is the story of that typhoon, and what was lost, and the trauma following. Again, I'm tempted to classify this as a 'ghost story' - and to put it up there with the best of them.

The Year of Spaghetti - A guy cooks spaghetti for a year and it is lonely and depressing. "Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing."

Tony Takitani - The moral of the story is: Don't try to get your wife to give up shopping, 'cause then she'll end up dead; it will be your fault, and what the hell are you going to do with all her clothes then?
You'll be sorry!
OK, maybe that's not actually the moral. It's actually a pretty emotionally harrowing, bizarre, and interesting piece.

The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes - Very similar to 'Dabchick' in tone and feel. Both stories even have bizarre and supernatural birds. And I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Murakami doesn't think much of marketing conferences, and is not going to 'sell out.'

The Ice Man - None of her friends want her to marry the Ice Man. Is he even human? Why does she love him? But she plows on ahead, and it's even her idea to move with him to Antarctic climes. It might not have been a good idea, however.

Crabs - Aww! I think trying strange restaurants in foreign countries is an excellent idea; and one of the most fun parts of travelling! Don't let this story scare you off! (It's pretty effectively scary!) I've got a feeling Murakami got a bad case of food poisoning at some point...

Firefly - This story ended up being part of the novel 'Norwegian Wood.' I think it worked better in the context of the novel than as a short story - so go read the book!

Chance Traveller - Jazz, and coincidences. The torn relationship between a brother and sister is mended by events that seem like more than mere synchronicity.

Hanalei Bay - A Japanese woman's only son is killed by a shark, and she feels driven to travel and see, and understand the surfing community where he died.

Where I'm Likely to Find It - An investigator is hired (?) to look into the disappearance of a woman's husband from the stairwell of his own apartment building. But what is he really investigating?

The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day - A man, strangely obsessed with a one-time statement from his father that every man will only have three women of tru significance to him in his life, finds himself in a relationship with a women who won't tell him what she does for a living. He won't find out until after she has left his life.

A Shinagawa Monkey - A woman begins to have bizarre episodes of forgetting her own name. It's only her name - she doesn't seem to be losing track of anything else. Doctors and psychologists won't help her, as the problem is too odd, and not that severe, by their lights. But then she finds a counselor who can track this down to the source...