Haruki Murakami/Photo © Elena Seibert
By TOM BLUNT
As the winner of this year’s Hans Christian Andersen literary award, bestselling author Haruki Murakami was granted an opportunity to speak to the public about the impact of fiction on reality (to the extent that we can even tell the difference anymore). The result was a powerful speech warning against excluding outsiders, and reminding us that entire swaths of society have a dark side that must be explored and dealt with in order to thrive. “Do away with shadows and all you end up with is a flat illusion,” the author observed. “Light that doesn’t generate shadows is not true light.” Murakami went on to explain how encounters with his own shadow-self have influenced his storytelling — that should be no surprise to dedicated fans of his work.
Whether or not your kid’s seen “Matilda” on Broadway, adored Spielberg’s “The BFG,” or has even heard of Willy Wonka, they’re still bound to be thrilled by the new fashion-forward line of clothing inspired by Roald Dahl’s fiction. The British brand Boden has a limited edition line that includes, among other things, a ladybug dress, a fox hoodie, and purple velvet blazer — plus hidden details in the linings that will give more inquisitive kids a way to connect with their favorite reading material.
“Dangerous Liaisons” has opened on Broadway, starring Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer as the pair made infamous onscreen by John Malkovich and Glenn Close. One reviewer was unimpressed, claiming, “A play about unwanted advances may be uniquely ill-suited to our Trumpian times.” But does that not miss the point about art entirely? If anything, we’re more deserving than ever of a play exploring the ways that imbalances of power contribute to sexual entitlement, and how ultimately even the victimizers become victimized by this cruel economy. In an interview, the play’s director, Josie Rourke, calls it “probably the greatest stage adaptation of a novel that we have,” and confirms that parallels to the current election are very aptly drawn: “I’m not for a moment suggesting that there are direct analogues in any way, but due as much as anything else to an accident of timing, the play is giving audiences the space to reflect on what sex and power really mean, especially between the genders.”
Speaking of great adaptations, the AV Club has devoted a slice of their Page-to-Screen column to “Rosemary’s Baby,” which many up-and-coming scary movie fans probably experienced for the first time this Halloween season. Ira Levin’s novel draws unease from totally different corners, and a side-by-side comparison really just confirms the genius of both Levin and filmmaker Roman Polanski for wringing every drop of anxiety from their chosen medium. However, in this critic’s eyes, the author’s is the more successful version: “If possible, set aside a few hours so you can read it all in one go. Just make sure the doors are locked.”