I’m pretty sure Justin Howe introduced me to the fiction of Haruki Murakami. If you haven’t read him, do so. Strange and wonderful stories unlike anything you’ll get in most western genre fiction, but with clear links to the work of Jeffrey Ford, Borges, Kafka, and pop culture junkies like Jonathen Lethem.
Except Murakami may be my favorite of all of ’em, at least for now. Every time I read one of his stories, it’s like a fireworks display of talent and imagination. Free, but well executed. Frantic, and yet commanding. Humane without being dominated by character-driven melodrama. If one can be subtle and wild, it’s Murakami.
His wee essay in Blind Willow, Sleeping Women touched my brain, too. He said that he loves short stories as little labs for experimenting and focusing on one element. A great mental exercise arena. When he’s done writing a novel, he works at short fiction, then switches. He compared the two to a forest and a garden.
Rang bells with his old word wrestler. I love the short stuff, but when I’m grappling with a longer narrative, it dominates the horizon until I reach it. Then, I fire the short-story six-gun at the night sky, filling the dark with little diamonds. Some fall back to earth, some stay up.
So go read Haruki Murakami and get inspired to do great things.