Translated by Ted Goossen
This is an odd little book. First of all, the designer is Chip Kidd, who regular readers of this blog know I am obsessed with. He has created some of the most iconic book covers around, and this is no exception. In fact, it reminded me a bit of The Cheese Monkeys, a book Chip Kidd wrote and designed.
The Strange Library is a sort of hybrid hardcover/paperback. The cover feels like stiff cardboard rather than paper, and lifts upward, with the bottom part opening downward. The paper is nice and heavy as well.
The text is large, and there are several full page illustrations throughout so this is a very fast read. Kidd explores Murakami’s nightmares beautifully.
The story revolves around a boy who visits the library to research a report. The librarian intimidates him into staying late and studying, with other worldly results in this fantastic story bordering on horror. There are only a few characters; besides the boy and the librarian there is a man in sheep’s clothing and a beautiful young wraith. It’s scary and fun.
This is a book I will happily find room for on my shelves; beautiful, weird and memorable.
1/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE STRANGE LIBRARY by Haruki Murakami. Knopf (December 2, 2014). ISBN 978-0385354301. 96p.