08 February 2016


Now I'm extra unhappy that the Atlanta library system doesn't have A Wild Sheep Chase because it's the third in the Rat trilogy after these two novellas. These two are actually Murakami's first writings when he decided to close down his jazz cafe and become a full time writer. All this I learned from the great introduction of this book.

Fittingly, this book is packed full of music titles, though I still like After Dark's playlist the best. Below is the song I like the most from this book:

I forgot to separate the quotations from each novella, so here's all of them together:
Writing is, in effect, the act of verifying the distance between us and the things surrounding us.

All things pass. None of us can manage to hold onto anything. In that way, we live our lives. 
^The style of Hear the Wind Sing, especially lines like this, reminds me somewhat of Vonnegut's style, but the context of this statement is that they are the only two author that I've read extensively from.
But then we get to Murakami's beautiful descriptions:
In the warm breeze, the light wavered. The air flowed at a leisurely pace, like a flock of birds flying from tree to tree. It skimmed the wooded slopes along the railroad line, crossed the tracks, and passed through the grove without so much as ruffling a leaf. A cuckoo's sharp cry cut through the gentle light like an arrow and disappeared over the distant ridge. The undulating hills resembled a giant sleeping cat, curled up in a warm pool of time. 
^which reminds me this particular line from Love in the Time of Cholera: "It was a mediation on life, live, old age, death; ideas that had often fluttered around her head like nocturnal birds but dissolved into a trickle of feathers when she tried to catch hold of them." I'm not sure how I can definitively associate quotations that I read 3 years ago but forget all my academic learnings.
A coincidence that the next quotation is about forgetting:
But everything had passed with the flow of time. At an almost unbelievable pace. What had once been a violent, panting flood of emotion had suddenly withdrawn, leaving behind a heap of what felt like meaningless old dreams.
I think the first one is from Rat, and the second one is from the narrator. They're a couple pages apart:
Each of us had all the troubles we could carry. They rained down on us from the sky, and we raced around in a frenzy to pick them up and stuff then in our pockets. Why we did that stumps me, even now. Maybe we thought they were something else.

Each of us had, to a greater or lesser degree, resolved to love according to his or her own system. If another person's way of thinking was too different from mine, it made me mad; too close, and I got sad. That's all there was to it. 
From here on the quotations are definitely from Pinball:
On any given day, something can come along and steal our hearts. It may be any old thing [...]. Lingering for two or three days, that something soon disappears, returning to the darkness. There are wells, deep wells, dug in our hearts. Birds fly over them.

I left a couple of chapters of Pinball to read for when I come back from Charlotte. The combination of being exhausted, Coldplay music playing, and the following lines created such unbearable feelings of...melancholy. No melancholy isn't the right word, but looking up synmonyms were a fruitless endeavor since the definitions are all relative to other forms of sadness. Maybe this is a fitting situation to use "lacrimae rerum". Somewhere around the quotation where Iyer talks about this term, he mentions how the Japanese have a variety of very precise words to describe each form of sadness.
"There can be no meaning in what will someday be lost. Passing glory is not true glory at all."
"Who said that?"
"Can't recall. But I agree with the idea."
"Is there anything in this world that can't be lost?"
"I believe there is. You should too."
"I'll do my best."
"Maybe I see the world through rose-coloured glasses. But in not as big a fool as I seem."
"I know that."
"I'm not bragging - I just think being an optimistic fool beats the alternative."
Like none of it really happened.
Oh, it happened all right. But now it's gone.
Does it make you sad?
No, I said, shaking my head. There was something that came out of nothing, and now it's gone back to where it came from, that's all.
We fell silent again. What we shared was no more than a fragment of time long dead. Yet memories remained, warm memories that remained with me like lights from the past. And I would carry those lights in the brief interval before death grabbed me and tossed me back into the crucible of nothingness. 
Narrator in conversation with the office girl, then with Spaceship. And of course this reminds me of Takemodo's plot in H&C, which is the thing that started my whole obsession with this theme.

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