Saturday, January 29, 2005

Murakami

The New Yorker costs almost 10 euro in Greece and is always a week behind, but it's a luxury I feel I can't afford to deny myself. This week, John Updike writes an incisive review of Haruki Murakami's new book, "Kafka on the Shore." I came across Murakami completely by chance in 1998 (when I found "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" in a discount bin in America) and have since made a point of reading most everything he has written. I've loved it all. As Updike points out, he is a master of both narrative and form. His books are about disjointed pasts and fragmented realities, intersecting fates, mysterious quests, lost identities, wells, tunnels, and shafts, unlikely affinities, death, sex, complacency, desire, and alienation. Of course, they're also about love; Murakami's weltschauung is endearingly, inscrutably, oriental, but nothing is as simple as love. Updike includes the following dialogue:

“We’re not metaphors.”
“I know,” I say. “But metaphors help eliminate what separates you and me.”
A faint smile comes to her as she looks up at me. “That’s the oddest pickup line I’ve ever heard.”
“There’s a lot of odd things going on – but I feel like I’m slowly getting closer to the truth.”
“Actually getting closer to a metaphorical truth? Or metaphorically getting closer to an actual truth? Or maybe they supplement each other?”
“Either way, I don’t think I can stand the sadness I feel right now,” I tell her.
“I feel the same way.”

It’s going to be a long wait for the paperback.

2 Comments:

Blogger mezizany said...

while you're waiting, i can tell you the ending...

I'm not sure i agree that we're not metaphors. it smells of some underlying "real" substratum of self that exists beyond definition of meaning. some in itself thing pervasive at some core of Self too slippery for metaphoric grasps, like Descartes' I... and that's a lie, there is no (nor can there be an) actual truth in and of itself.

Rather, the Self is Nothing until given meaning, and by the trappings of language, all meaning will be metaphorical, at best. The Self escapes confinement of just one meaningful substantia. The Self is dynamic, everchanging, ever-reinventing itself. The Self is always already becoming.

To snapshot the Self in time/space, is the best glimpse of the Self. but even this snapshot is metaphorical by the nature of the snapshot, snapshotee and snapshooter.

I disagree. Yes, i'm further convinced, that we are precisely only metaphors, already always.

4:49 am EET  
Blogger sissoula said...

Don't spoil the ending -- I kinda suspect already (always) how it's going to go. Someone told me (warned me) in an anonymous email. Or we could consider it a metaphor, as what we are in here represents what we cannot be out there.

12:28 pm EET  

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