It is the second time I have read this short story. First time, it moved me to tears. Second time, it still hurts to read it. Haruki Murakami writes the most bizarre things most of the times and then he writes stories like The Seventh Man and Norwegian Wood which cut through all the crap and aim right where it hurts.
I was a bit a disappointed last week when Haruki Murakami did not win the Nobel Prize for literature. I am not the sort who usually follows this kind of news but I was a little excited for my favourite author. Over the years, I have fallen in love with his writing. In fact, I even considered learning Japanese to be able to read the books without the barrier of translation. Although, I am sure his translators do a great job.
I remember during my college years, Kafka on the Shore was a huge hit. I came across so many people who were reading it. Finally a year or so after college, I read the book. I was totally hooked on to his style of writing. I guess I would describe it as realistic surrealism. It might just be an oxymoron but it is true. There is no logical way to explain Murakami.
While Kafka is a beautiful book, it isn’t my favourite book. I borrowed Norwegian Wood from a library. Read the book during boring work hours and coffee breaks and it just became one of my favourites. It is a simple story of a boy scarred by death and love trying to figure out life. And like all of his novels, it is set with a vivid backdrop of Japanese history. Though I know nothing about it, I am sure for Japanese readers it is something that helps them connect with his imagination a lot more.
Life, love, death, depression, friendship, comfort or should I say need for comfort, and even pointlessness. These are feelings that we all deal with at some point of time in our lives. No one thinks that these feelings are unusual. No one thinks that any of them can scar us. But they do. At so many levels. Having felt many of those, I can relate to the emotions, if not the story. And hence, it is one of my favourites.
If you are new to Murakami, start with this book. But know that this is the most “normal” of his stories. And then read Kafka to know the real Haruki Murakami.
PS: I doubt I am going to see the end of this challenge. I might blog without the compulsion of these topics. I wish writing wasn’t so difficult.