Short Story Spotlight: Sheherazade by Haruki Murakami

Featured in today’s The New Yorker, Scheherazade is a scintillating example of the peculiar and fanciful imagination of its author, Japan’s preeminent peddler of fictive absurdities, and possible contender for this year’s Nobel Prize being announced tomorrow, Haruki Murakami.

The other thing that puzzled him was the fact that their lovemaking and her storytelling were so closely linked, making it hard to tell where one ended and the other began. He had never experienced anything like this before: although he didn’t love her, and the sex was so-so, he was tightly bound to her physically. It was all rather confusing.


As ever Murakami’s141013_r25575-877 unadorned prose surprises in all the best ways. The characters, in this case a Mr. Habara, 31 and housebound, though we are never quite sure why, and his caretaker/contracted lover, a 35-year-old housewife whom he dubs Scheherazade for her penchant, much like that fabled queen from ‘A Thousand and One Nights’, for spinning fantastical yarns post coitus. The casual manner in which these characters pivot the story in unexpected directions is the real beauty of reading Murakami. In the hands of a master like this, the reader never quite knows what might be coming, but always senses, as one who has been repeatedly struck by lightning, that the air is charged for another bolt.