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Thoughts on Murakami

February 5, 2010

courtesy of Jason Gabbert’s inspiration

As I mentioned yesterday, my bookclub is reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. To a degree that is virtually beyond the point of discussion  by now this book is recognized as his most pivotal, revealing, and important work of fiction (at least among literary critics). Now,  I’ve read some of his other works and very much enjoyed them (particularly his collection of short stories entitled The Elephant Vanishes), but even I have to agree that this goes far beyond them. To the edge of space beyond them. I hate to admit this. “This” being my concurrence with the critics. Due to a review I read of Disney’s Pocahontas in 1995 (at the ripe old age of 9) I have had held a long-time disdain for critics and their worthless opinions (they did, after all, call my favorite movie at the time “dull as a box of rocks”). This has remained true even though I have filled the critic role myself and have found myself on more than one occasion in agreement with critics.  But in this case, there is almost no way I could more eloquently express how good this book is than the swarms of reviews and comments you can find on it.

courtesy of Jason Gabbert's Inspiration

It doesn’t hurt at all that it is a work of magical realism, which anyone who knows me can tell you I love more than candy (and I truly love candy). Or that is is straightforwardly a well written novel. Or that it’s about Japan (which I love at least as much as candy, though maybe a little less than magical realism… and fantasy novels).

Truth be told, though, this book doesn’t need my help- countless people know and love it, and that’s not even including the aforementioned support from the Literati.

What inspired me to write this wasn’t a desire to publicize its greatness. Rather, I wanted to share my joy in the fact that I’ve found a book so great that I never want to put it down. So good, in fact, that  my daily life becomes a rude imposition on my reading time. It’s been so long since I’ve found a book like this, and as I get older it gets rarer and rarer and fewer and far between. Books like this and the feelings they inspire (1) are the reason I love reading and I am ecstatic to be experiencing it now.

Of course, I have no idea what the rest of the ladies in book club are thinking. The beauty is that to them, my opinion is as worthless as those fools who called Pocahontas dull. We’ll see!


1:  Wind-Up Bird has been wreaking havoc with my psyche- I finally understand what people are talking about when they tell me why they love The Stranger, something which was completely lost on me.

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