Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami: Book Review

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer, who is known for his essays and short stories. The specialty of his popularity is with how he portrays the character, who is not big hero or something extraordinary, but it is just an ordinary girl or boy as you and me. He digs deep into everyday life and brings out minute details that will relate to you.I came across such a short story- Birthday Girl that has a unique storyline and kept me hooked throughout.

What’s the story all about?

Birthday Girl is about a girl who spends her 20th birthday by working at an Italian restaurant in Japan. The girl would have had a fight with her boyfriend three days ago. Due to her partner’s sudden illness, she had to switch slots at work. Not just this, the manager of the restaurant, who for the first time in ten years ever since he started working there, had to skip work because he had a sudden stomach ache. The manager gives her an important job, that is to deliver food to the owner on the sixth floor of the same restaurant. Strangely, nobody has ever seen the owner and she was asked to just ring the bell and deliver dinner.

It is when she delivers the food that the owner asks her about the age and she tells about her birthday to which he grants her that he will fulfill her one wish. She makes her wish and the owner tells her that it will come true.

The later part of the story will make you wonder what did the girl wish for on her twentieth birthday from the owner of the Italian restaurant who promised to make her wish come true. The story is like a puzzle and it will make you decide its conclusion. 

Few quotes in the story tells you philosophy or are life lessons. My favorites are, “No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves. That’s all.” And “It’s as though something happened to make me think that things happened that never really happened at all.”