A surreal theater production of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, directed by Yukio Ninagawa, premiered at the Lincoln Center Festival in July. Ian Buruma writes for the NYRB about the marriage of tradition and modernity, and Western and Eastern references in the play. As he puts it, “even without traditional references, the production—perhaps more than Murakami’s novel—is still unmistakably Japanese: stylized, poetic, comical, violent, full of spectacular effects, and often exquisitely beautiful to look at. The setting jumps at lightning speed from a bus station, to a library, to a sleazy bar area. Various characters emerge and disappear, like memories or scenes from a dream, in an assortment of moving transparent boxes.”
“Being a judge for the Man Booker prize has at times felt like being part of a team of archaeologists excavating some vast buried city. Once the dust has settled – after nine months of reading – you stand back to survey your labours and realise all that’s left is a small pile of gleaming fragments. I hadn’t expected the process to be quite so emotionally exhausting. Nor had I thought it would be quite so exhilarating.” In case you’re curious, a Man Booker Prize arbiter offers up his reflections on the judging process. See also: the shortlist itself, which has surprised many readers!
Ian Crouch writes for The New Yorker about a new version of The Sun Also Rises, which gives readers a peak into Hemingway‘s drafts and revisions. Crouch believes that by reading these drafts carefully, one can pick out a “minor manifesto” that “conceives of a book with greater intellectual and artistic ambitions than Hemingway ever produced.” In the words of Hemingway’s character Jake Barnes, “Isn”t it pretty to think so?” Pair with our own review of the latest edition of The Sun Also Rises.
The Millions‘s own Edan Lepucki, whose first novel California will be released next week, was featured in The New York Times following the promotion of her novel on The Colbert Report. We recommend you read the article, read more from Edan here and here, read the first chapter of California here, and then order the novel ASAP.
New York Magazine has an excerpt up from Zora Neale Hurston‘s long-lost manuscript, Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo, the first-person account of Cudjo Lewis, the only living survivor of the final slave ship to land in America. Barracoon will finally, 87 years later, be published next week.