My Paper on Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Published! 🙂
During the summer, I had to remove one of my essays on Murakami from my blog as I received an offer of publication. The editor of the journal sent me the good news today and it was finally published! My essayis titled “Consumerism and the Possibility of an Authentic Self in Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.” You can find the link to the journal and my essay below:
Favourite Quotes from Sputnik Sweetheart
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
Published by Vintage
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It has been such a long time since I read this novel. Back then, I read it within couple of hours and it is among my favourite Murakami works. Here are some parts I love and still remember :))
“I think it was the right move, but if I can be allowed a mediocre generalization, don’t pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world? Remove everything pointless from an imperfect life and it’d lose even its imperfection.” (Murakami 4).
“”My head is like some ridiculous barn packed full of stuff I want to write about,” she said. “Images, scenes, snatches of words . . . in my mind they’re all glowing, all alive. Write! they shout at me. A great new story is about to be born – I can feel it. It’ll transport me to some brand-new place. Problem is, once I sit at my desk and put them all down on paper, I realize something vital is missing. It doesn’t crystallize – no crystals, just pebbles. And I’m not transported anywhere.”” (Murakami 16). Continue reading
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
Published by Vintage Books
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Not so infrequently critiques, either Japanese or Western, have associated Murakami’s works both stylistically and thematically to Western writers such as Thomas Pynchon, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Don DeLillo and many others. By doing so, Murakami, while to a certain extent being denied an original voice, has been very often positioned as a writer indulging himself in the Western canon as opposed to his Japanese contemporaries who are dealing with the notion of Japaneseness. On the surface, such a view can be considered to hold some truth as Western references such as music, food, books, philosophy and so on occupy a great space in his works. However, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is irrefutably more Japanese than Western, if such a division of any literary work can/should be done. Perhaps, with its references to the Second World War Japan and the post-war Japanese politics and economy deals more openly with Japan and Japaneseness than any other of his works.
This voluminous work of Murakami is about a man called Toru Okada and fall of his marriage soon after his cat bearing the same name with his brother-in-law, Noboru Wataya, gets lost. Actually, everything starts with a strange phone call from a woman who claims to know Toru Okada. Although Okada cannot seem to recognize the voice of this mysterious woman, the phone call can be regarded as a foreshadowing concerning his wife and marriage. In addition to the strange phone calls, the novel surrounds itself around curious objects such as a cat, a mysterious house and a dried-up well as well as intriguing characters with their life stories somehow linked to the Second World War. These interesting characters and curious objects all together add up to the typical and magically surreal world of Murakami. Those who expect to find a surreal world as lavish as The Kafka on the Shore, unfortunately there is no fish raining from the sky. Yet, alternatively you may take a siesta at the bottom of a well if you fancy.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami / Review
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Publishing Date: December 2, 2014
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Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library with a child protagonist being lured into a mysterious library and a sheep man serving freshly prepared doughnuts – perhaps the sheep man from A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance – immediately reminds his readers of the Brothers Grimm’s famous fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. Yet, in Murakami’s story, it is not the doughnuts that will fatten up the child protagonist and turn him into a delicious meal for the strange old man working in the library. Rather, the knowledge being attained from the books is to make a mouth-watering meal out of his brains.
The story actually begins with the protagonist going to the library to return some books and on the way to the library he recognizes a sudden desire to read about Ottoman tax collection system. Yet, the volumes on Ottoman tax collection cannot be taken out of the library and for this reason he is led to a reading room in which he is locked.
As a matter of fact, from the very moment the protagonist enters the library he feels something strange: “the library was hushed more than usual” and “my new leather shoes clacked against the gray linoleum. Their hard, dry sound was unlike my normal footsteps” (1). Moreover, despite seeing the grotesque face of the old man in the library, he cannot bring himself to leave the library because he is not “… very good at giving anyone a clear no” (10).
After the door is locked on him, the protagonist starts his descent towards the very bottom of the library: “It was a very long staircase. Long enough, it seemed, to reach Brazil” (17). This is the very turning point in this short novel: either a world that is similar to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland or the Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel will welcome the child protagonist when the descent comes to an end. Unfortunately enough, the latter is proven to be the case as he ends up in a jail cell where he compulsorily starts his reading about the Ottoman tax collection.
Whether the protagonist manages to escape this maze-like library, you can only find out upon reading the novel. However, by choosing a storyline more similar to the Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel rather than Carroll’s Alice, Murakami seems to be critical of the information and the way it is consumed. Today, information, which has been transformed into a consumer object, in the schools and libraries is carefully categorised and presented. In this way, it has long become a handy tool for the education system to produce not only individuals in line with our consumer societies but also a system working towards specialised knowledge. In this nightmare-like visit to the library, Murakami in his usual funny and witty way looks like telling us something about this matter through his child protagonist.