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Delicious descriptions from Down Under: Alice Pung and Haruki Murakami

November 25, 2011

Regular readers here may know that I like Haruki Murakami and so will understand that I was tickled when, out of the blue, Alice Pung alludes to Murakami in her book, Her father’s daughter, that I reviewed earlier this week. It appears in her description of a prostitute who has come into her father’s Retravison store with a pimp. Pung writes:

It was summer and the girl, Diep, wore a long white smocked dress. She looked like a Murakami heroine – there was an anaemic delicacy to her face and a butterfly clip in her hair.

If you’ve read much Murakami, you will immediately have a picture of this girl, and you will think, too, that she may be a little lost, a little, shall we say, not of this world. But, hmm, maybe not. She does speak to Alice before she leaves with her pimp:

‘You have a good smile. You don’t have to sell phones, you know.’

Pung has a lovely sense of humour!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2011 2:02 pm

    So true about Murakami characters! Is she a school girl who smokes gold-tipped cigarettes and eats cucumber sandwiches as well?

    • November 25, 2011 2:46 pm

      LOL, you’ll have to ask Pung that! But, welcome Stephanie, thanks for commenting.

  2. November 25, 2011 2:22 pm

    Oh, love it! 😀

  3. November 25, 2011 8:30 pm

    I’ve just started reading 1Q84, Murakami’s latest, so am into his world again and agree with the description – so apt – it gives an instant picture in the mind of a Murakami heroine.

    I’m about 100 pages into 1Q84, and it is beginning to develop into a mysterious and intriguing novel. I really like the American hardcover edition I purchased. It has puzzles in the print motifs (page numbers) throughout, and a lovely semi transparent paper dust jacket.

    • November 25, 2011 8:40 pm

      Oh thanks for this Anne … I’ve heard such mixed things about this one. Did you order it from The Book Depository? Sounds like a lovely edition. Some books are just a delight to hold aren’t they?

  4. November 25, 2011 9:03 pm

    I ordered it from Amazon as I had a gift voucher. Took its time to arrive, but it is a splendid looking book, and so far is a good read. I have read mixed reviews as well, but someone pointed out that it was more like Hard Boiled Wonderland than any of his other novels. Hard Boiled Wonderland is my favourite Murakami so I expect to enjoy 1Q84.

    • November 26, 2011 7:44 am

      Ah well, if it’s like Hard-boiled woodland I might like it too as I liked that one, though right now I can only remember a sense of it rather than its content. but that’s probably Murakami isn’t it?!

  5. November 26, 2011 7:23 pm

    I was lucky enough to be in town last weekend with the book-looking ex who bought me the hardback edition mentioned above. Can’t wait to begin. I have only read Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman of Murakami, and one of the stories went deep into my mind.
    Just read that he ‘s up for a Bad Sex Award on The Guardian however!

    • November 27, 2011 9:25 am

      Lucky you Catherine. Which story in Blind willow? Yes, I’ve heard about that Guardian article … Plan to read it but haven’t managed to get to it yet.

  6. November 27, 2011 6:08 am

    Even after reading only one Murakami novel (The Wind-up Bird Chronicles) I can easily understand what kind of picture Pung is trying to paint. A nice shout-out and a rather clever way to describe a character – those who understand the reference will know what to imagine, those who don’t know Murakami will still have a general idea of what the girl needs to look like.

    • November 27, 2011 9:26 am

      Yes, you’re right, Biblibio. It’s an effective image with enough if you don’t know Murakami but adds that little extra if you do.

  7. November 29, 2011 7:34 pm

    1Q84 definitely features women of that nature. Interesting to read the comments above on the book – I’m one of those who’s a bit “mixed” about it. Good in parts but needing a bit of an edit I think.

    Interesting to read about your Asian literature project – I await the results with interest

    • November 29, 2011 10:33 pm

      Thanks Tom … I’ve seen more mixed views on this one than on any others of his so I’m intrigued to give it a go if I can.

  8. December 1, 2011 4:22 am

    Excellent description! I completely know what the girl looks like and I have only read one Murakami!

    • December 1, 2011 7:53 am

      Yes, you would, Stefanie! There is a consistency about his heroines and yet they are unique individuals at the same time.

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