I've had two unique book reading experiences in the last week or so. Firstly, I've always heard or read about people's experience of reading a book that felt like it was 'written about them' or 'just for them' or whatever, and I've always thought: wow, that sounds cool. I've never had the experience myself until I read Haruki Murakami's first novel, Hear the Wind Sing. Actually, it's more along the lines of a novella, but I did. I felt like it was written just for me, as if he had me in his head when he wrote it. Obviously, I know that isn't the case, but still, it just gives you this mild electric shiver the whole time yr reading. It was a marvelously eerie feeling all in all, which has been a continuing theme of 'The summer of Murakami'.
Concurrently, I was reading his most recent novel, After Dark, and I was thinking the whole time, hey, it only seems mediocre in comparison to his other novels. It still had trademark Murakami wierdness, insight, and when the characters get to talking its way offkey and interesting, but it just wasn't all the way there. Like he was coasting through this one. This was how I felt right up until the 2nd to last paragragh in the book, when the themes from all of his books suddenly clicked in my head, and the book transformed into this exciting distillation of wierdness into a coherent metaphysics of the odd. If I hadn't've read so many of his other novels I don't think it would have happened like that, but I have, so it did. I've never had a book completely transform itself in the waning moments like that. It was highly awesome.
I also finished Norwegian Wood just two days ago, and it hit me hard. Suddenly I felt like I had been disattached from the universe and was just floating in some interliminal state whereby I couldn't actually interact or engage with the world around me for the entire day. I was just watching without being a part of anything. It was not the response I would've expected. It's a sad story for sure, but this was something different. I just felt like I was no longer in the game or even a part of the game. I'm failing miserably in my attempt to explain this feeling because it was a strange one, undoubtedly, but oh, well. I'm now into Kafka on the Shore and Pinball, 1973. Absolutely, utterly obsessed with Marukami.
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