When We Were Orphans (Kazuo Ishiguro)

ImageFirst time reading this author’s book, find his writing style and narration to be quite smooth.  Though the reminiscing part about growing up in Old Shanghai is pretty long – life with his parents and a childhood friend – a Japanese boy named Akira whom he played with; Relationship between the British and Chinese on opium trading, how his parents’ involvement led up to their mysterious disappearance, followed by the protagonist being sent to study in England, became a detective and despite all the crimes he had solved, there’s one unsolved crime which has always haunted him, and led him back to the city of his childhood to find out what happened to his parents.  I find all these to be interesting read, except when comes to the war, and talks of the Chinese Communist Party and Chiang Kaishek, I skipped.

Beside the above, I’m also quite happy to read about Chapei, which was the hometown of my dad.  Had visited Shanghai 3 years ago, been to a place where my dad told me that’s where Chapei was, yet strangely it’s not anywhere near the famous bund. Probably, it’s like what the protagonist said in pg.352, “The streets, though renamed, are perfectly recognisable, and it’s said anyone familiar with the Shanghai of Old would know his way about there.”



Received some good books in the mail, and will have lots to read now.  Just started on “The Thirteenth Tale” but moving very slowly, due to work and having just taken up a new role in the workplace.   Followed by it will be Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood”, and “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink.  Hope I will enjoy the Norwegian Wood better this time, as I didn’t finish “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle” which I find very bizarre and weird.  Would therefore like to seek understanding from whomever you are whose books are with me, I’ll try to finish as quickly as I could and not hold them up for too long.  But it’s always nice receiving books from fellow book lovers, as I find it makes reading more engaging, adventurous and fun this way.

Japanese author Murakami wins Jerusalem prize

So… this is how Haruki Murakami looks like. Have read only ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ but didn’t manage to finish the whole book. Find the story to be very bizarre & weird and the more I read the more confused I became.  Yet, I didn’t just stop there, and have signed up for a new ray ‘Norwegian Wood’ organised by a fellow bookcrosser, hoping I’ll enjoy this better.

The news here says he has won the 2009 Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society, Israel’s highest literary honour for foreign writers. Even what he said during the Award was profound, just like his book.

Here’s it:

JERUSALEM (AFP) – – Haruki Murakami, the acclaimed Japanese writer, has won the 2009 Jerusalem Prize, Israel’s highest literary honour for foreign writers.

The 60-year-old accepted the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society from Israeli President Shimon Peres at the opening of the international book fair in the Holy City late on Sunday.

“When I was asked to accept this award I was warned from coming here because of the fighting in Gaza,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the writer as saying as he accepted the 10,000-dollar (about 7,800-euro) prize.

“I asked myself — is visiting Israel the proper thing to do? Will I be supporting one side.

“I gave is it some thought. And I decided to come. Like most novelists, I like to do exactly the opposite of what I’m told.

“Novelists can’t trust anything they haven’t seen with their own eyes or touched with heir own hands. So I chose to see. I chose to speak here rather than say nothing.

“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.

“Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system.”

Murakami is the author of, among others, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, and the Trilogy of the Rat, which includes Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball and A Wild Sheep Chase