The library was even more hushed than usual.
My new leather shoes clacked against the gray linoleum. Their hard, dry sound was unlike my normal footsteps. Every time I get new shoes, it takes me a while to get used to their noise.
A woman I’d never seen before was sitting at the circulation desk, reading a thick book. It was extraordinarily wide. She looked as if she were reading the right-hand page with her right eye, and the left-hand page with her left.
“Excuse me,” I said.
She slammed the book down on her desk and peered up at me.
“I came to return these,” I said, placing the books I was carrying on the counter. One was titled How to Build a Submarine
, the other Memoirs of a Shepherd
The librarian flipped their front covers back to check the due date. They weren’t overdue. I’m always on time, and I never hand things in late. That’s the way my mother taught me. Shepherds are the same. If they don’t stick to their schedule, the sheep go completely bananas.
The librarian stamped “Returned” on the card with a flourish and resumed her reading.
“I’m looking for some books, too,” I said.
“Turn right at the bottom of the stairs,” she replied without looking up. “Go straight down the corridor to Room 107.”
Copyright © 2014 by Haruki Murakami. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.