Poll

What book do you want to read?

A Wild Sheep Chase
0 (0%)
Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World
1 (6.3%)
Dance Dance Dance
0 (0%)
South Of The Border, West Of The Sun
0 (0%)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
2 (12.5%)
Sputnik Sweetheart
2 (12.5%)
Kafka On The Shore
4 (25%)
After Dark
3 (18.8%)
IQ84
3 (18.8%)
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage
0 (0%)
Wind/Pinball
1 (6.3%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Voting closed: August 09, 2015, 07:36:08 PM

Author Topic: Murakami Book Club  (Read 2946 times)

oldkid

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2015, 02:01:16 AM »
Just got it.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2015, 04:14:08 AM »
Sweeet
Hey, nice marmot!

St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2015, 08:49:52 AM »
So how far along has everyone gotten...?
Hey, nice marmot!

oldkid

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2015, 11:53:22 AM »
I am taking the month of September off, so I won't be able to respond to everyone's comments until the end.  But I can get the ball rolling...

I am more than halfway through the book (about 300 pages in).

The style of writing is perfect for me.  At first, it felt so common with other Japanese writing that I imagined the characters as if they were in an anime series.  There is a stilted quality that I often find in Japanese writing.   But I soon got past that and the prose took on its own shape and quality.  It is as smooth reading as a good scotch, which warms me within. 

I like the structure of focusing the plot on two characters: Kafka and Nakata.  They are so very different, but at this point the two plots are spiraling around each other, and I wait for the soon merging.  Kafka is naive and him learning so much provides a door for us to enter into his world. I am fascinated to see him maneuver through luck and blind wisdom from chosen homelessness to a safe place.  Nakata, although he constantly is telling people how stupid he is, is anything but and his cards are firmly kept behind his veil of self-ignorance.  Why can he speak with cats?  What event happened when he was young?  What is his connection to Kafka?  What is the connection between his ignorance and his strange abilities? I think he knows more than he's saying, or even than he admits to himself.

I'm at the point of the book where many of the mysteries get solved, and I wonder if I've figured it all out.  But I know that's not true, because otherwise there wouldn't be another half to go.  And I am happy to continue to the end.  I might finish by the end of the week, and then I can start on the next Murakami book that I picked up from the library.

What a happy way to find another favorite author!

"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

jdc

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2015, 11:58:50 AM »
I have purchased it.
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

Sandy

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2015, 12:49:58 PM »
The youtube audio was taken down, so am looking for an alternative.

Liking the book a lot so far.
"Inside you there's a strength that lies."

oldkid

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2015, 08:34:47 PM »
Be better if sung by a young girl



Or maybe by a peter, paul and mary trio.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

oldkid

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2015, 04:24:43 PM »
I've finished.  So I'm posting my thoughts, some spoilery (marked), to get things started:

Okay, so this is my first experience of Murakami, and want to say that my first impression of him is that his prose is quite refreshing, very obtainable and the dialogue, if not always believable is always readable.   In some way, I wonder if Murakami isn’t the fifteen year old Kafka, except that he is 50 now and he is still in the back room of the same library, having experienced little of life except what he read in books.  There are many quotes and many music references, but little that we might recognize as everyday living.  Even the library is weird—a small library, established by private funds but open to the public carrying mostly esoteric poetry, plus the random novel or biography.   I might want to hang out in this library… okay, I certainly would… but could it actually exist? And if it did, how could it hire two employees?  I guess stranger things have happened.

Like, for instance, the rest of the goings-on in the book.  A guy with half a shadow who talks to cats and continually says he’s “not too bright”, but he knows more of what’s going on than the rest of us.  A guy who “hates long stories” but finds himself wrapped up in one, who’s motives are, to say the least, mysterious.   The silent librarian, the Crow Boy, Johnny Walker, Colonel Sanders (the pimp who says he’s the embodiment of a concept).  And then there’s Kafka (not his real name) the 15 year old runaway for whom everything seems to just work out.

Coming to the end of the book, not much made sense.  So I sat down and thought about it.  Like Winnie the Pooh going “Think-think-think”, paw tapping the noggin.  The key, it seems, is the stone.  It’s a doorway that can open or close a path to some spirit world.  The best option is limbo—the place for people who aren’t bad enough to get into hell and not good enough for heaven.  People who did perhaps moderately bad stuff.  Guys who deserted their unit, but because they didn’t want to kill anyone.  A young girl so in love that she would rather give up on her life than on her love.  A boy cursed to kill his father, have sex with his mother and sister, but he only did so in a manner of speaking.  People whose lives aren’t lived out to know where they should go.

Okay, so let’s say this girl opened up limbo so that her love might endure forever. What she didn’t know is that her memories would be stolen from her, so her love would only endure as long as her memory lasted in this place where time has no meaning.  Opening the door had other unintended consequences, for instance, for a class who happened to be too near the opening site, and time went all wonky.  Blood appears (from a future murder/suicide) and a young boy is implicated in this bloody mess.  He is in limbo and then he comes out… or at least half of him does.  He is both in and out of the realm for the next fifty years.  He becomes an empty shell of a man, easily utilized by those who are “strong”, who have more powers at their disposal than most of humanity.

Like Kafka, or his father, Johnny Walker.  Kafka uses his strength to manipulate the half-people around him to fulfill his destiny imposed upon him by his father.  His father, meanwhile, uses the souls of cats to make a flute, which has great powers.

Nataka, in his half-soul state, is a powerful mystic, able to use the knowledge of cats and can pull fish from the sky, but is limited.  He doesn’t know anything but what is the most important step for him to take.   Anyway, the door to limbo is closed, Kafka decides to live a real life, Nakata and Ms. Sakei  die, allowing them to be whole. 

That's my theory.  Any others?

Although Murikami references the 400 blows often, the film I am most thinking of in this novel is The Double Life of Veronique.  There are doubles, dream twins, or people who are incomplete, seeking their other half.  There is a connection to the spirit world that isn’t right, but pursued anyway.  There is the demand that the body and the spirit be balanced.   And there are mysterious details that are emphasized, but never clarified.  We gain a glimpse of the spirit world, but not enough to actually explain anything.

Are we supposed to get anything out of this novel?  Does it reflect anything that we might experience?  I can think about the possibility of having a Spirit Twin, who does all that I dream about.   I realize that it is good that I appreciate long stories, since we all find ourselves in one.   I realize the importance of music, for as important as falling in love is, I have fallen in music so much more often.  I continue to ponder the question whether it is better to have useless thoughts or no thoughts at all?  And I remember, no matter how strong my hopes and goals are, if it hasn’t happened yet, it isn’t real.

But for all this, I am not sure what I am supposed to get from this madman’s fevered dream. What concept is Colonel Sanders?  What is the flute of Johnny Walker supposed to do?  What happens to Crow Boy?  And what am I supposed to get out of this?

"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sandy

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2015, 08:27:07 PM »
I'm about half way through, so cannot look at that think-think-think part yet (but will as soon as I finish!). I can say at this point, that my favorite character is Oshima. I want to hear more from him and his story. Stuff like this (not spoilery),

I’ve experienced all kinds of discrimination. Only people who’ve been discriminated against can really know how much it hurts. Each person feels the pain in his own way, each has his own scars. So I think I’m as concerned about fairness and justice as anybody. But what disgusts me even more are people who have no imagination. The kind T.S. Eliot calls "hollow men." People who fill up that lack of imagination with heartless bits of straw, not even aware of what they’re doing. Callous people who throw a lot of empty words at you, trying to force you to do what you don’t want to...

Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.
"Inside you there's a strength that lies."

jdc

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Re: Murakami Book Club
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2015, 10:55:03 PM »
ok, I think I have to give up the book I am 70% in and start this otherwise everybody will be done before I get to start.  I the start of OldKids write up, we he speaks of musical references that many won't know in real life, I think this is a theme on many Murakami books.  It is obvious that he loves jazz since a lot of his characters also seem to as well
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman