“Samsa in Love”

Critically acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, author of 1Q84 and Norwegian Wood, has recently published a short fiction piece in The New Yorker about an unidentified creature that one day wakes up in the body of a human. Strange as it may seem, “Samsa in Love” brilliantly showcases the best-selling author’s trademark Kafkaesque surrealism and imaginative descriptions. Whether you love him, hate him, or have never heard of him, Murakami’s “Samsa in Love” is definitely worth a read. If you’re still not convinced, the opening paragraphs, reproduced below, will give you a good feel for the piece. Check it out!

“He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.

He lay flat on his back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, everyday ceiling of the sort one might find anywhere. Once, it had been painted white, or possibly a pale cream. Years of dust and dirt, however, had given it the color of spoiled milk. It had no ornament, no defining characteristic. No argument, no message. It fulfilled its structural role but aspired to nothing further.

There was a tall window on one side of the room, to his left, but its curtain had been removed and thick boards nailed across the frame. An inch or so of space had been left between the horizontal boards, whether on purpose or not wasn’t clear; rays of morning sun shone through, casting a row of bright parallel lines on the floor. Why was the window barricaded in such a rough fashion? Was a major storm or tornado in the offing? Or was it to keep someone from getting in? Or to prevent someone (him, perhaps?) from leaving?”

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