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.
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.