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First Person Singular  By  cover art

First Person Singular

By: Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel - translator
Narrated by: Kotaro Watanabe
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Publisher's summary

National best seller

A mind-bending new collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author.

“Some novelists hold a mirror up to the world and some, like Haruki Murakami, use the mirror as a portal to a universe hidden beyond it.” (The Wall Street Journal)

The eight stories in this new book are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. From memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball, to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. Occasionally, a narrator may or may not be Murakami himself. Is it memoir or fiction? The listener decides.

Philosophical and mysterious, the stories in First Person Singular all touch beautifully on love and solitude, childhood and memory...all with a signature Murakami twist.

©2021 Haruki Murakami (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

All fiction is magic. That’s the thought that occurred to me often as I read First Person Singular, the brilliant new book of stories by Haruki Murakami.... Whatever you want to call Murakami’s work — magic realism, supernatural realism — he writes like a mystery tramp, exposing his global readership to the essential and cosmic (yes, cosmic!) questions that only art can provoke: What does it mean to carry the baggage of identity? Who is this inside my head in relation to the external, so-called real world? Is the person I was years ago the person I am now? Can a name be stolen by a monkey?.... [Murakami allows] his own voice to enter the narratives, creating a confessional tone that reminded me of Alice Munro’s late work.... Describing how these stories succeed is like trying to describe exactly why, more than 50 years later, a Beatles song still sounds fresh.” (David Means, The New York Times Book Review)

First Person Singular marks a blazing and brilliant return to form.... Here we have a taut and tight, suspenseful and spellbinding, witty and wonderful group of eight stories.... All are told in the first person, most by narrators looking back from the vantage point of middle age on youthful experiences, obsessions, or encounters. And there isn’t a weak one in the bunch. The stories echo with Murakami’s preoccupations. Nostalgia and longing for the charged, evocative moments of young adulthood. Memory’s power and fragility; how identity forms...the at once intransigent and fragile nature of the “self.” Guilt, shame, and regret for mistakes made.... Music’s power to make indelible impressions.... The themes become a kind of meter against which all the stories make their particular, chiming rhythms.... This mesmerizing collection would make a superb introduction to Murakami for anyone who hasn’t yet fallen under his spell; his legion of devoted fans will gobble it up and beg for more.” (Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe)

“Haruki Murakami is a master of the mesmerizing head-scratcher. His fiction, whether long or short, highlights life's essential strangeness and unfathomability.... The eight stories in First Person Singular [...] are classic Murakami, filled with multiple recurrent obsessions — jazz, classical music, Beatles, baseball, and memories of perplexing young love.... Murakami's plainspoken short stories, like his more complex novels, raise existential questions about perception, memory, and the meaning of it all — though he's the opposite of heavy-handed, and rarely proposes answers.... What is it all about, his frequently awestruck and befuddled characters wonder repeatedly — and contagiously.... [A] winning collection.” (Heller McAlpin, NPR)