Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

The End of Murakami

with 2 comments

Well well well (three holes in the ground).  Finished Birthday Stories today, and thought it quite good.  I didn’t realise when I bought it that it also had a David Foster Wallace story in it (‘Forever Overhead’), which was a nice surprise.  Apart from Infinite Jest, I’ve only read one or two essays of Foster Wallace (I’ve been trying to space him out, like every author I’ve been regularly reading (except Murakami, of course, but my serial-reading of him is something new), and I don’t think I’ve read a short story of his before.  It was probably my favourite of the collection, or at least the one I think I could reread again with the most pleasure.

And so, having finished Birthday Stories, I’ve therefore finished everything that Murakami has written that has been translated into English.  Looking at past entries on this blog, I find that I read the first novel (in this current serial-reading series) on 11th January, which means that I’ve read 14 books in about one and a half months.  Which sounds quite good, but it’s not all that fast, I don’t think (many of the books weren’t exactly on the thick side of the scale).

He’s not the greatest author I’ve read, this Murakami fellow.  (I say “not the greatest” as a statement of fact suggesting he’s literally not the best author I’ve read, rather than a phrase meaning “quite bad”, as in when you’re asked how a dinner was, and you reply “not the greatest”.)  (That probably didn’t need explaining.)  But he’s a superb metaphorist (I just made that word up and I think I’m going to keep using it), sets an excellent emotional and philosophical mood, and he fills his novels with interesting characters (for the most part).  I see where people who complain that “if you’ve read one Murakami story then you’ve read them all” are coming from, but I think they’re missing the point.  Didn’t Tolstoy complain that all of Shakespeare’s characters sound like Shakespeare?  To love an author is to be attracted to their persona, methinks – to be drawn to their style – so one should not complain that the style remains the same.  The geniuses manage to change their style somewhat, though their initial self always remains.  I don’t think Murakami escapes from himself like Shakespeare does (after all, too many of his characters share a love of jazz, classical music, attention to cooking, etc), but…  Well, I don’t actually have an end to that sentence.  Hmm.

Anyway, I feel no revelation after finishing the oeuvre, nor would I expect the same if I had read through the Collected Shakespeare.  Revelation is usually triggered by a particular, after all.  (Forever Overhead was a slight revelation about maturity, methought upon reading it.)

But I’ll stop here, as I realise that the only reason I’m continuing to type is because I feel that I should have something to say about completing the oeuvre, when in fact I have little of worth to say about the matter.  Nor do I need to have an opinion on everything.  (Nor do I want to have an opinion on everything.)  (Nor do I want to have an opinion on most things, probably.)

We set up our new TV today.  It’s capable of 3D.  Oooh.

5/522 in Proust 4 (Sodom and Gomorrah).  I’ve left it just long enough since I read Proust 3 to have forgotten most of the characters.  But I’ve done that with all the volumes so far.

I wonder when Murakami’s new book will come out, if ever…


Written by epistemysics

February 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. bravo! You’ve read more murakami than I have, and I’m a fairly big fan (?)

    Now you’er taking on Proust? I’m still on 3…

    You got your mojo back?

    Neil san

    February 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

  2. Oh goodness no. Well, I have my reading mojo back, perhaps, but that’s entirely separate from my writing mojo.


    February 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

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