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Books I have read, re-read, am reading and will read in the course of a fiction-crammed summer.  It will be obvious that I am writing about Nicholson Baker, and about ghosts in fiction.

A Box of Matches, Nicholson Baker
U and I, Nicholson Baker
The Everlasting Story of Nory, Nicholson Baker
The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker

(Also re-looked-at The Mezzanine, Vox and Room Temperature.)

The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak
Beyond Black, Hilary Mantel
Alive in Necropolis, Doug Dorst
Asleep, Banana Yoshimoto
Stories by Haruki Murakami
Midnight Picnic, Nick Antosca
In Persuasion Nation, George Saunders, and other stories
Intro and selections from The Norton Book of Ghost Stories, ed. Brad Leithauser
Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
Magic for Beginners, Stranger Things Happen, Kelley Link

Waiting for the Straub-edited antho mentioned above.

This is more fiction than I have ingested in any summer since... I don't know when, sometime in the late sixties or early seventies probably, consuming John Barth and Thomas Pynchon and the Ballantine fantasy novels and Ada and and...


Aug. 9th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
I actually haven't read any of his short stories yet. Just his novels.

Interesting that you mention Ueda Akinari. I am a student of folklore, and I recently did about four years' study on that of the Japanese. Akinari's Tales of Moonlight and Rain was really interesting. If you want some pretty good Japanese ghost stories, I'd recommend Izumi Kyōka. There's a book of his stories translated into English called Japanese Gothic Tales.

As for ghosts in Murakami...I don't know if there are any ghosts proper...Murakami is a surrealist primarily. What I like about his books is that they are, true to life, often unstructured, and at the end the mysterious and supernatural often remains unexplained. The closest I think he has to a ghost would be in the book Kafka on the Shore. It involves what the Japanese call ikiryō, which is the spirit, not of a dead person, but of a living person. That's one of my favorites of his books. Others are Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Norwegian Wood (the last being his only novel to feature no surreal elements at all). But Kafka is probably the best Murakami novel to start out with.
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for the hints. This is all a new area for me.