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How had I never read Murakami?

Two weeks have passed since opening my first Murakami book, and since then his novels have become an addictive alternative to and expression of reality. After Dark, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart and now Dance Dance Dance are seamlessly blending what we experience in reality and what we imagine. Why should our thoughts and fantasies not be treated as memories, and learned from? Murakami dissolves the divide between what reality teaches us and what we can teach ourselves about reality through imagination.

After Dark exists in the space between nightfall and daybreak, in a Tokyo which keeps moving and breathing when the world should be dreaming. Dreams and reality conjoin, with a character announcing she is “going to sleep” and then declining to stir from her deep slumber for months. Existing in a dreamlike space her purpose is unclear, and questions of perspective, understanding and self-awareness are at the forefront. After Dark does not just discuss the time when sun has set, it looks into the shadows of our own identities and reveals that other people are the keys to shedding light upon them.

Norwegian Wood shot Murakami to fame, at which point he was forced to escape Japan to seek solitude in the streets of Europe. How could he not have known on writing it, that it would profoundly affect a huge audience? The novel startles the reader in its exposure of the craziness which resides within love and denies it simplicity. It brims over with shadows and memories of a sense of completion achieved through love, leaving its characters existing in the present wanting only to return to moments passed or realizing the displacement which has fallen upon them now they lack it. Norwegian Wood is a painfully stark description of the impossibilities of living with and lacking love.

Murakami can inject you with terror, summarise an emotion in an anecdote, and describe thoughts and feelings which are so personal and familiar but you never knew could be expressed in language. Murakami is a hand reaching out to the reader, his words flowing with the irresistibility and unpredictability of crashing waves.

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2 comments on “How had I never read Murakami?

  1. mistergrifftwo
    August 27, 2014

    I encourage you to read every single one of his English-translated books, they’ve changed my life!

    Like

    • Jasmine Owens
      August 27, 2014

      Can see why! I’m making my way through them now – 1Q84 is taking a while but I’m dreading the moment it finishes. Amazing books ~ ~

      Like

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