11 March 2016

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Subtitle: digging pure holes

And I am finished with my Murakami backlog, took almost 2 month. I purposely saved this book for the last because judging solely from the various titles alone, this should be my favourite. Well, yet another piece of evidence for how little I know myself. Not to say that I didn't like this book, but it's closer in ranking to 1Q84 than South of the Border.

But it is full of good one liners! Or at least the good quotations come in shorter lengths.

On precision:
For only through assiduous repetition is it possible to redistribute skewed tendencies.

Because more often than not I've observed that convenient approximations bring you closest to comprehending the true nature of things.

Everyone may be ordinary, but they're not normal.
On uncertainty:
The skull is enveloped in a profound silence that seems nothingness itself. The silence does not reside on the surface, but is held like smoke within. It is unfathomable, eternal, a disembodied vision cast upon a point in the void.
There is a sadness about it, an inherent pathos. I have no word for it.

Is this a fragment of s real memory or has time folded back on itself? I cannot tell.

Thinking about time was torment. Time is too conceptual. Not that it stops us from filling it in. So much so, we can't even tell whether our experiences belong to time or to the world of physical things.
On navigation:
Once, when I was younger, I thought I could be someone else. [...] But like a boat with a twisted rudder, I kept coming back to the same place. I wasn't going anywhere. I was myself, waiting on the shore for me to return. 
I gaze up at the sky. I was in a tiny boat, on a vast ocean. No wind, no waves, just me floating there. Adrift on the open sea. [...]
The sky was deep and brilliant, a fixed idea beyond human doubt. From my position in the ground, the sky seemed the logical culmination of all existence. The same with the sea. If you look at the sea for days, the sea is all there is. Worth Joseph Conrad. A tiny boat cut loose from the fiction of the ship. Aimless, inescapable, inevitable.
On positioning:
There was a place, and you were there.
She stares at me. No, she stares into the space I occupy.

T'was a fun exercise coming up with vague groupings for these quotations.

A couple more thoughts on this book.

Discounting A Wild Sheep Chase which I've yet to read, this is clearly much more in the sci-fi genre than the other "adventure" books which are more surreal. I do feel that it suffers a little from over-explaining the made-up technicalities, such as how shuffling works, but its a common problem I find in sci-fi (with my samples mostly consisting of anime).

This book also has a more obvious symbolic level to dissect compared to the rest of his works. It's left unexplained why his End of the World is designed as much, and what each particular characteristic of it is suppose to represent. I somehow managed to avoid drowning my thoughts in such speculation, but did get caught up on whether the two PoVs were happening simultaneously or sequentially. Settled on simultaneously in the end because it leaves things a bit tidier.

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