Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Murakami Madness

... meaning that mid-March, momentum maniacal, I embraced the multitudes that make Haruki Murakami, Murakami. Had been reading Murakami before then, but in March it's become a compulsion.

Now, since December, I've read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, After Dark, Kafka on the Shore, Dance Dance Dance, & am 3/4 of the way through Norwegian Wood. The last three have been read in quick succession. What is it about Murakami that makes his work entirely readable yet compelling? Perhaps it's that, as a poet, I notice that his lines themselves are not beautiful. Murakami's a storyteller & a philosopher, but he's not in love with sound. Unlike fiction writers such as Saramago or Faulkner, who use both the line & language to move their stories, Murakami doesn't depend on beauty, doesn't depend on the smaller scale - a real powerhouse of a plot-driven writer. And perhaps what makes him compelling is that those plots are sometimes so shockingly strange and twisted and dark that there's really no way of telling what is going to happen next. Murakami's not a writer of logical conclusion. Although I didn't love After Dark or Dance Dance Dance, there was also never a moment when I thought "Oh, of course X is going to happen next." Murakami's also one of those writers whose images creep into your dreams. Not always a good thing, but a testament to the fact that he's mined those places in the human psyche of irrational fear, nightmare, & whatever it is in us that desires the supernatural.

More Murakami


kookaburra said...

Just discovered your blog because I was reading Mark Doty's. Congratulations on the Pushcart nomination. Nice to meet you, sort of. I used to go to the Pittsburgh aviary as a kid & sometimes make crayon drawings. I remember the mynah but not the owl.

I'm posting here because I also love Murakami. Loads.


sophie klahr said...

Nice to virtually meet you, Megan, and thanks for your congrats!