Let me start out by commenting on the physical book itself. The Strange Library has thick pages and opens in an interesting way. The top flap made a nice built-in bookmark. The inside is pretty unique, too. It’s set in Typewriter. The font size gradually changes up until the end, and there are also some variations in color throughout. The book is generously full of full-page color illustrations.
The Strange Library is “a fantastical illustrated short novel about a lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man who plot their escape from the nightmarish library.”
Holy moly, I’ve read pretty much everything by Murakami and as I was I reading, I was thinking, “this is one weird, creepy story.” Yet there’s still a lightness about it. How does he do that?! It’s exactly the kind of offbeat writing you expect from Murakami.
Although this a quick read, it made me think. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but there is an entire scene that starkly (and at the same time, gently) criticizes the culture of obedience. And the very last page, which I almost didn’t notice at all, socked me in the gut and made me want to re-read the whole thing. . .but I can’t. I’m not ready yet, because of the way that final page changed my entire perspective.
Quite a meaty read for a short story.