The Strange Library follows a young boy on a routine trip to the library to return some books. Things quickly get out of hand when he is tricked into the basement and told he cannot leave until he has memorized the contents of the three books he came to check out. Learning that his brains are on the librarians’ menu, the boy tries to escape with a mysterious girl, and a long abused sheep man in tow.
“I knocked. It was just a normal, everyday knock, yet it sounded as if someone had whacked the gates of hell with a baseball bat. It echoed ominously in the corridor. I turned to run, but I didn’t actually take a step, even though I wanted to. That wasn’t the way I was raised. My mother taught me that if you knock on a door, you have to wait there until someone answers.”
Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library is a quirky and beautifully packaged book. The short story is elegantly paired with the illustrations and design by Chip Kidd, that add to the whimsical and somewhat creepy fairytale-esque narrative. The book is not terribly durable, and may not hold up well with rough handling. Readers should also be warned that what looks like a slip case…isn’t, so be careful how you open the book.
While not for everyone, The Strange Library is a great addition to any Haruki Murakami fan’s collection, and may also appeal to readers who enjoy books that are not traditionally designed.
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