Birthday Stories………everyone has one to tell and remember

Yesterday, it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life’s a mess
But I’m having a good time……..Paul Simon

 A few days ahead of my own birthday, I have decided to write about the anthology of birthday stories aptly titled Birthday Stories by Haruki Murakami which contains some of the best short stories I have had the pleasure of reading.


Published in 2006, it contains 13 short stories all of which have a birthday  theme.  Murakami has penned one of the stories himself titled Birthday Girl to be included in the anthology.

A birthday is usually a  day of celebration and fun but it can also become a memorable day for various other reasons. Reading through the collection selected by Murakami, one realizes that birthdays are also days that can become memorable for some strange reasons. It can be a day that brings back memories of a forgotten lover; a day one avoids spending time with the people who are closet to you or be a day one wants to spend by oneself.

My oldest son was born on my husband’s birthday so that is a birthday story we get to repeat from time to time. But I guess everyone has their own birthday story to tell and remember.

Book cover
Book cover

One story in the anthology in particular titled The Moor by Russell Banks has got me so hooked that, since I first read it more than two years ago,   I have read and re-read it so many times that I know most of it by heart.  As Murakami says in the introduction to The Moor, “the dark sense of pain that lingers after you have finished reading it” makes it an irresistible story.

In the introduction to the anthology, Murakami gives the reader an insight into what a birthday means to him.  That, for me, is a separate story by itself.

The book begins with the words of a well-known song by Paul Simon – Have a Good Time.   It’s worth a listen.

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2 thoughts on “Birthday Stories………everyone has one to tell and remember”

  1. why don’t you write a short story based on something around your birthday 🙂

    …if I have to write a story based on my own b’day; I might write about my 11th b’day on 1987.. It was 28th July and there was curfew all around the country following riots against signing of India-Sri Lanka peace agreement. There was a group of friends in similar age group about 10 gathered for playing at my grand parent’s place in Matara and finding nothing good to do; and with uncertainty on what is happening around; we decided to have a birthday party..

    But all the shops were closed and it was curfew out there with police jeeps patrolling around regularly; so no cakes, no sweets; but there were plenty of Breadfruit trees in my grand parent’s garden and one suggested why don’t we have a ‘Breadruit B’day Party’.. All agreed and one climbed the tree with a ‘kekka’ and managed to get enough breadfruit for all.. Found a big pot, Breadfruit were cooked.. a a coconut had been scraped and a sambol was made.. Breadfruit with sambol Shared with all in the house.

    I do not have the habit of partying for B’days – but this is the BEST Birthday party I ever had. I don’t think even the most expensive cake in the world can bring this kind of thrill of celebrating a b’day.. And having such b’day party while the whole country is on fire may also be a good seed for a short story..!! 🙂

    1. Hi Malaka.That s such a lovely story. Thanks so much for sharing it. I think I should get all my friends to write their own birthday story and publish an anthology. I am sure there will be some great stories.

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