“Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey”
by Haruki Murakami
translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel
from the June 8 & 15, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
As one of three stories in the 2020 Summer Fiction issue, we have a new Haruki Murakami story. Back in 2006, The New Yorker published Murakami’s “A Shinagawa Monkey,” and this story is, as Murakami himself says, a sequel. In his interview with The New Yorker, Murakami said, “I really wondered what fate might have befallen him after he was captured, but for a long time I didn’t have the opportunity to write a sequel.” So here we are! I myself have not read “The Shinagawa Monkey,” but it is readily available and we can read it on the magazine’s website here. I think I will step back and do that before delving into the sequel.
I did skim a bit of the new story, though, and found this fun passage:
I was soaking in the bath for the third time when the monkey slid the glass door open with a clatter and came inside. “Excuse me,” he said in a low voice. It took me a while to realize that he was a monkey. All the thick hot water had left me a bit dazed, and I’d never expected to hear a monkey speak, so I couldn’t immediately make the connection between what I was seeing and the fact that this was an actual monkey. The monkey closed the door behind him, straightened out the little buckets that lay strewn about, and stuck a thermometer into the bath to check the temperature. He gazed intently at the dial on the thermometer, his eyes narrowed, for all the world like a bacteriologist isolating some new strain of pathogen.
“How is the bath?” the monkey asked me.
Should be good to settle down in this world.
In the meantime, please share your thoughts below! I look forward to reading them as they come!