The Strange Library

The Strange Library, from famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami (A Wild Sheep Chase and 1Q84), is an illustrated novella about an obedient child, a library “even more hushed than usual,” and its odd inhabitants who seek to feed the trapped boy knowledge. It's a genuinely creepy tale that leaves the reader unsettled. Translated by Ted Goossen, the book makes its English publication debut as a revision of Murakami's 1982 novella, Toshokan kitan. By foregoing lore, backstories and endless descriptions, Murakami keeps the reader in the moment as the scared but willing child descends deeper into the increasingly terrifying library. The bare-bones descriptions of everything from the library's books and metal doors to the sheep man and a translucent young girl allow the readers' imaginations to pick up where Murakami leaves off, so that the story seeps in and gets under your skin. The young boy's journey—what's taken from him, what he gives up—is a dark, lonely tale filled with symbolism and metaphor, the kind you hope to drain of its wisdom, though. Upon visiting The Strange Library, you may just be too scared to turn the page.