New Persian translation of “First Person Singular” comes to Iranian bookstores

April 16, 2022 - 18:10

TEHRAN – A new Persian translation of popular contemporary Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s 2020 book “First Person Singular: Stories” has come to Iranian bookstores.

Ofoq is the publisher of the book translated into Persian by Mehdi Ghabrai.

The eight masterful stories in this new book are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. 

From memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball, to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. 

Some of the stories like “With the Beatles”, “Cream” and “On a Stone Pillow” are nostalgic looks back at youth. 

Others are set in adulthood – “Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova”, “Carnaval”, “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey” and the stunning title story. 

Occasionally, a narrator who may or may not be Haruki himself is present, as in “The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection”. Is it a memoir or fiction? The reader decides. 

Over five other Persian translations of “First Person Singular: Stories” have been published in Iran.

Murakami’s work has been described as “easily accessible, yet profoundly complex.”

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. 

He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. 

His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in “Norwegian Wood”, works. 

Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami along with his wife opened the coffeehouse “Peter Cat”, which was an evening jazz bar in Kokubunji, Tokyo.

Many of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: The Thieving Magpie” (after Rossini’s opera), “Bird as Prophet” (after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as “The Prophet Bird”), and “The Bird-Catcher” (a character in Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”). 

Some of his novels take their titles from songs: “Dance, Dance, Dance” (after The Dells’ song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune), “Norwegian Wood” (after The Beatles’ song) and “South of the Border, West of the Sun” (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).

Photo: Front cover of the new Persian translation of Haruki Murakami’s book “First Person Singular: Stories”.

MMS/YAW

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