Saturday, November 27, 2010

After the Quake - Haruki Murakami

I just finished reading Haruki Murakami's 'After the Quake' and you wonder how this guy writes stuff like this. He writes in a manner that is entirely his own and they go and occupy a distinctly separate place in your mind, a very exclusive place. For example, this book is a slim  132 page collection of six different stories that are set around an earthquake that happens in Kobe.
Murakami's 'After the Quake'

'UFO in Kushiro' is about Komura a middle aged electronic salesman whose wife leaves him and who goes and meets two girls to deliver a box for his friend in Hokkaido and what transpires between them. 'Landscape with Flatiron' is about a young couple and an older guy, a loner, who meet on the beach where the older guy makes great bon fires with a rare skill. 'All God's Children Can Dance' is about a young man Yoshiya who finds out his father, a doctor who had a relationship with his mother many years ago, and also realises that his mother, now completely religious, believes that he is God's gift to her and from no one else. 'Thailand' is about Satsuki who goes to Thailand in her menopause, on a conference, and enjoys a week all by herself, pampered by the wise chaffeur who also gets a local future teller to tell her of how to get on with her life. In 'Super Frog Tokyo', a huge frog teams up with Mr. Katagiri a loan recovery agent to save Tokyo from the worm who is planning to cause an earthquake. In 'Honey Pie' is about three friends from college, two girls and a girl, and how their relationships change over the years. All with the quake somewhere in the background.

Some of Murakami's tales leave me wondering what they were about. And yet, they seem to hold a lot of meaning, which will make sense sometime, at some other plane. He leaves one strong visual, one motif for you to grasp that story - like the doctor's clipped ear by which Yoshiya recognises him and for the rest of your life, a clipped ear will always take you to Murakmi's space. He gets into your mind, installs his own software, leaves those characters and their motives and lives there and goes away. They will remain there, living their lives in  your mind, meaningfully or meaninglessly. No one else can go to the place they stay. This software, you cannot uninstall. It may live longer than you do!

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