The Strange Library

“ The library was even more hushed than usual.”

Early this morning, I listened to the audiobook version of The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami. I love to read in the early morning, and this novella has been waiting patiently for just such a morning.

It’s a strange story, a fantasy about a young man visiting the library and asking for books about an obscure topic. He was led into the basement of the library, which was an endless labyrinth, and ultimately imprisoned there. His experiences in captivity, and his plan for escape were surreal. The story was infused with both humor and insight, and was fun and interesting to read.

I’m a fan of the great Ray Bradbury, and I thought of him all the way through this book — in the story, the storytelling, and in that it took place entirely in a library. The only problem with listening to the audiobook was that the hard copy version has wonderful illustrations that really augment the story. After listening, I then read my hard copy. Don’t miss those illustrations if you choose to listen to the book!

Some favorite quotes:

My mind was in turmoil. It was too weird—how could our city library have such an enormous labyrinth in its basement? I mean, public libraries like this one were always short of money, so building even the tiniest of labyrinths had to be beyond their means.

The sheep man has his world. I have mine. And you have yours, too. Am I right? “That you are.” So just because I don’t exist in the sheep man’s world, it doesn’t mean that I don’t exist at all. “I get it,” I said. “Our worlds are all jumbled together—your world, my world, the sheep man’s world. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don’t. That’s what you mean, right?”

This book was on my list for Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge #16.

6 thoughts on “The Strange Library

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