Monday, April 27, 2009

a wonder from Japan

The weekend was quite a drag for me and it would have been a total bone-marrow-deep bore had it not been for DANCE DANCE DANCE. This is a literary creation brought to life by a truly magnificent Japanese author called Haruki Murakami. And the first I devoured among his many works. After reading this book I shall forever pontificate and exalt the talent and imaginary skills of this man. He is deep without being boring and he is rational but very imaginative.

Some of the websites which have chronicled this man's work as well as some of the publications who critiqued him have compared his genius to that of Alfred Hitchcock. The capability to pluck ordinary individuals with ordinary lives but surround them with unusual circumstances and phenomena. The very essence of many of his books I presume( As I have not read them all yet).

DANCE DANCE DANCE is about a man who is purposedly and mystically led to a hotel in Sapporo, Japan, he once stayed in many years ago. He is looking for a lady he used to live with in the past. She has left a deep scar in his heart and being and he wants to find out how she has been and her current whereabouts. Staying in the hotel he stumbles upon some Divine Being who reveals to him that there are connections in his life that must be severed, healed or abandoned to give a semblance of completion in his every being. He also meets a young, conservative but struggling-to-liberate-herself lady who works as a receptionist in the hotel and in my opinion is a reincarnation or retransfiguration of the woman he stayed with in this hotel some years ago.

When he comes back home to Tokyo his heart is still very much into the quest for that one woman in his past he thinks can complete his being. Along the way he reestablishes contact with an actor-classmate of his who is linked in a way to that woman. They forge a friendship which is bounding but not completely unstrained. He also comes into connection with the eccentric daughter of a world-famous female photographer who has nothing in common at all with him and yet a deep-seated fascination and liaison is forged between the two of them. He meets her mother too, the photographer and her partner, a one-armed ex-Army American who exists for a short time only in the plot.

Perhaps the greatest revelation the main character finds out in the end is that there are connections that will be severed in order for more important ones to become binding and strong. Several deaths and the instances of morbidness abound near the end of the story perhaps as a way of clearing the path for our hero to achieve completeness with the one woman who remains at the back of his mind, the purported reincarnation of his beloved, Miss hotel receptionist.

Murakami has an extraordinary talent of giving life to inanimate objects and giving them a role in the main character's metaphysical existence. One example is the description of the "telephone" as a less than pure idea. It is technology that has mastered communication for us but unless there is a will on either party to communicate, the phone remains useless...Amazing isn't it? Of course he places this with such relevance so that it doesn't seem absurd to talk about a phone in a novel...He is also very adept at fantaisical imagination and creating scenarios transcending history, filmography and current events. He places the main character's admiration of Jodie Foster as Cleopatra, one who deserves the highest accolade among the Egyptian set of characters he has created in one of his lazy mental meanderings. He links her to the main character's admiration of his personable actor classmate who is the official swimming trainor of the Pharaoh's ancient Egyptian kingdom.

I have already bought five books excluding this one, of this astounding author! I would like to thank the people who have given me this opportunity to explore more of this author's amazing range of literary and creative skills. You are forever close to my heart and cheers to the next five I am going to have to read! Hahahaha

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What an amazing coincidence, I have just finished reading Dance Dance Dance as well.

If you liked it, Wild Sheep Chase is actually a prequel of sorts, although I have never read it myself either...

Among his other books, my favourites would be Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart. Check them out!

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