Posted in Short Stories

A Perfect Day for Kangaroos

Having read J.D. Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” this week, I was reminded that I had seen a title of a short story called “A Perfect Day for Kangaroos”. Being positive that it was a Mark Twain story, I scoured through my short story collections, but couldn’t find it.  I finally had to look it up on the internet and discovered that I had seen it in the table of contents of Haruki Murakami’s collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.  And since I went to the trouble of figuring out who wrote it, I figured I might as well read it.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Completely different in tone from the other Murkami works I’ve read, I had a little trouble getting in to it; however, a couple going on a date to a zoo to see a recently-born kangaroo has a little of that Murakami oddness to it.  The couple has a few relatively friendly little spats while admiring the kangaroos.

One minor detail jumped out at me (no pun intended).  While the narrator of the story waits for a hot dog and a Coke, he mentions that the vendor has a boom box playing Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel.  Did this mean the story was set in the 80’s?  Possibly.  I can’t help question why this little piece of information was included.  What was important about placing the story in a specific time?  The answer to the question isn’t really that important to me.  I think Murakami tends to like questions more than answers.

2 thoughts on “A Perfect Day for Kangaroos

  1. Hi Dale,
    I re-read this story last night after reading your post. My best guess is that the couple (well, the girlfriend at least) is anxious about “missing their chance” at something – likely having children. She laments that “it won’t be a baby any more” and that “she’ll never have another chance” to see it and things like that. The narrator also mentions at how quickly time passes – the only way he knows/realizes a month has passed is because his paper bill is due again. Things like that.

    I’m curious about the music too, although HM often includes music in the backgrounds of his stories and novels. To take it a step further, which specific songs by Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder should be playing to fit this story? As you probably suggest, maybe HM wants us to fill in those blanks ourselves. Amazing how much we could speculate a out such a short short story!


    P.S. I’ll go with “I Wish” and “Don’t go Changing.” 🙂

  2. Jay,
    Thanks for the comment. It was very enlightening! The whole “time” concept isn’t new to Murakami’s work. At least 1Q84 and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman dealt with time and combined that past and the present together. Those are the only other writings of his that I’ve read (as of now). Great question as to which songs might be playing. I’m going to go with “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and “Tell Her About It” – for some reason the “boombox” made me think of these songs.

    I’m also assuming that the Japanese version of this story would also include Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel. Or would it include Japanese artists? I guess if it was truly a translation it would have to include them(?).


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