July 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Even before I read this work of Murakami, I had already been captivated by its content.


I bought this book on impulse almost, but not quite, a year ago.  It had to take a back seat while I was consumed with my exam, but I’ve finally taken the time to finish it.  The review of this book has been surprisingly mixed.  Only when I read it to the end did I understand why several of Murakami lovers have found this work deviant from his usual masterpieces.  To be honest, there were a lot of times I used speed reading just to get through some parts that were repetitive in content. Here are a few of the striking lines that I marked as I was reading.

And it was the kind of thing that loses the most important nuances when reduced to words. *

If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life.  Even if you can’t get together with that person.

“In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil,” the man said.  “Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa…The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil. If you lean too much in either direction, it becomes difficult to maintain actual morals. Indeed, balance itself is the good.

It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.*

People need things like that to go on living – mental landscapes that have meaning for them, even if they can’t explain them in words. Part of why we live is to come up with explanations for these things.

Maybe we shouldn’t meet again…Wasn’t it better if they kept this desire to see each other hidden within them, and never actually got together? That way, there would always be hope in their hearts. That hope would be a small, yet vital flame that warmed them to their core – a tiny flame to cup one’s hands around and protect from the wind, a flame that the violent winds of reality might easily extinguish.

I think that* about illustrates how repetitive it can get – although the fact that I underlined that thought every single time anyway symbolizes how much I agreed to it.  Nevertheless, it was a unique kind of fiction.  It didn’t fail to give that signature stillness that one gets whenever you read Murakami’s stories.  It unearthed new ways of looking at things, simplified complications and complicated simple things.  I felt the ending was abrupt and lacking, but I am still left with a marked impression of this alternate world that the story has weaved.  I would also have to consider that the repetition is part of the style of writing – something that the patient Japanese culture is familiar with.  In a very watered down description, it is a story of how love triumphs in the end against all odds.  However, Murakami gives that common theme more than just a twist.  He gave us Aomame and Tengo.


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