Men With­out Women, Haru­ki Muraka­mi, ISBN 9780451494, Bond Street Books, 2017 “Well, that was weird!” might be the first fleet­ing thought to cross a reader’s mind who is new to expe­ri­enc­ing Haru­ki Murakami’s bizarre world of jazz, base­ball, ghosts, cats, spaghet­ti, marathon, sex, and iron­ing. Bathed in an ever-gyrat­ing whirlpool of urban myths, para­bles, post­mod­ern night­mares, mir­a­cles, puz­zles, and pop art, Murakami’s char­ac­ters appear as those famil­iar strangers with whom you could glad­ly share a psy­che­del­ic trip down the dark abyss of desert­ed mem­o­ries. The Kafkaesque prose master’s unusu­al dream-real­i­ty requires a con­tem­pla­tive engage­ment of one’s mem­o­ry in all its miss­ing bits and poet­ic elu­sive­ness. On that account, his roman­tic treat­ment of the shad­owy fig­ures of imag­i­na­tion cap­tures a less pre­dictable world of fan­tasies and fick­le nos­tal­gia. Despite its clear­ly strong nar­ra­tive com­mand over every­day real­i­ty and sub­stan­tial issues, the idio­syn­crat­ic pat­tern of sto­ry­telling one comes across in Murakami’s lat­est trans­lat­ed col­lec­tion, Men With­out Women (2017) is not an excep­tion either. This book may be eas­i­ly mis­un­der­stood for its some­what obscu­ran­tist title, for it has noth­ing to do with Hemingway’s nar­ra­tive of rugged prize­fight­ers in his sim­i­lar­ly titled 1927 work from which our Japan­ese sto­ry­teller would seem to have […]