Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: Murakami

As I'm finishing up Wind up Bird Chronicle,  I think I'd like to write a few words about famous japanese author, Hiroki Murakami.  Let's start with a chronological list of his books I've read.

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Wild Sheep Chase
Dance, Dance, Dance
Wind up Bird Chronicle

I would like to point out that the most recent three books I read over the course of this last year.  The first book I read a few years ago, after my first visit to Austin, TX.  It was given to me by a woman I met, with whom I shared one of the very few times I've had what you might call a 'one night stand.'  And, given that we maintained a phone relationship for months after, it might not be called that either.

I suppose that isn't relevant, except perhaps in the way that it is a part of the story of my reading Murakami.  I really like this author, I like his style.  He is easy to read and yet, I find he stretches my imagination.  In some ways, I find his stories to be very similar to one another (once again, hard boiled wonderland being the exception).  There is a certain dream-like quality of unreality that pervades these stories and  what makes Wonderland different, is that the dreamlike quality is much more pronounced, much earlier in the story.  Whereas in the other three, he dangles this sort of parallel reality just out of view, teasing me with the promise that I will see more, and that it might all make sense.  This drives me to read on.  I won't tell you if any of it ever does end up making any sense.

Murakami is dry, and yet it doesn't bother me.  His control of detail is so strange.  He is so deliberate in his details, it can create a sense of significance.  And yet, he's not a Tolkein-style painter by any means.  Tolkein, in my mind, paints beautiful water-color landscapes.  Murakami is more of a Kandinsky abstract.


While in the middle of a Murakami story, I can't wait to read the next one.  But following a Murakami story, I usually need a break.  I've been reading a lot more lately.  I find it a more fulfilling way to spend my time than video games.  It is also more flexible - easier to pick up and put down, requires less of my attention, works well as a transition into sleep.    I still think about video games a lot though.  In fact, I just had this one crazy idea about a platform game with three life bars and all these different, multi-colored item pickups which affect the bars in different ways.  But I'll tell you about that later,


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