Translated by Philip Gabrial
Our birthday is a day of the year we’re sure to remember, a marker in time from which it is easy to asses exactly the course our lives have taken over the last twelve months. And so birthdays are a time for taking stock, for making resolutions for change.
In this collection Murakami has assembled birthday scenes of family ties wished for, made and broken; of chance meetings and much lamented losses and scenes featuring a spectrum of emotions from joy to despair – of imperfect pasts and uncertain futures. As Murakami’s own style is applauded for brilliantly conveying "the absolute oddness of ordinary life" (RUPERT THOMPSON, Esquire) this collection portrays this same minutiae as Murakami would observe it – the mundane events that had an unexpected twist.
Previously published in Japan in Murakami’s translation the collection appears here with the addition of an introduction written by Murakami especially for this English language edition.
The book was published on December 7, 2002 from Chuokoreon-shinsha. His original story "Birthday Girl" in the book was translated by Jay Rubin. It was in the June edition of the Harper magazine.
Murakami collects together short stories on the theme of birthdays by Russell Banks, Ethan Canin, Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, Denis Johnson, Claire Keegan, Andrea Lee, Daniel Lyons, Lynda Sexson, Paul Theroux, and William Trevor, as well as the specially written story by Murakami himself.
An un-happy birthday present - thanks a lot! By Matt Thorne from the Independent
Financial Times - review by James Sullivan