Murakami's Strange Library

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Libraries figure in the novels of Haruki Murakami, but not much has been said about what they represent. To address this gap, this chapter explores Murakami’s first exploration of libraries in his 1982 short story ‘The Strange Library’ (‘Toshokan kitan’). Viewing the story as an important step in the development of Murakami’s aesthetic approach to the postmodern Japan of the 1980s, and situating the story within the history of libraries in Japan, this chapter shows how Murakami uses the image of the subterranean library to investigate the violence that lurks beneath the consensus order of hyper-capitalist Japan, and to ask questions about how that order has shaped post-war Japanese subjectivity. What emerges is a bleak assessment of the condition of the subject in the face of power and violence: a theme that Murakami has subsequently grappled with over and over again through the course of his career.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLibraries in Literature
EditorsAlice Crawford, Robert Crawford
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter14
Pages220-232
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780192855732
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Haruki Murakami
  • libraries
  • Japan
  • literature
  • The Strange Library
  • subjectivity
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • post-war Japanese history
  • Jacques Lacan

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