Summer Reading: Distance Writing

Haruki Murakami by Elena SeibertI’m a big fan of Haruki Murakami’s writing. (Photo right by Elena Seibert). A huge fan, even though I’m only on a second book by him.

I read “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” last year and am on “Kafka on the Shore” right now. In each case, I read the opening paragraph and was immediately sucked right into the book.

The writing is, quite simply, wonderfully stirring, with stunning light, chilling darkness and everything in between (including, notably, a great sense of humour). The light and darkness are to be found in the interior worlds of the characters that are explored in the writing and how they connect to the rest of the world as they move through it. A person’s place in the world, relationship to the world, and how they affect the world (and are affected by it) are under constant examination as you proceed through the work. To my mind, among many other things the writing examines the question of the journey through life, and the wondering about the journey itself. It’s a sort of reflection that I thoroughly enjoy, with all its ups and downs, and his writing takes you on intricately woven paths of it from the very first sentence. (…And there’s cats. I love cats.) I won’t go on any more since I feel really very silly and inadequate when trying to write about such great writing.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention him, in case you’re looking for new writing to explore, and also mention something rather good indeed: The current issue of the New Yorker (a fiction special) features a wonderful essay by him about how he got into writing, and distance running, and the relationship between the two. It’s worth getting the issue for just that article even if you’re not a subscriber. (As a bonus, there’s the ever entertaining Anthony Lane making snide remarks about the “Sex in the City” movie, lots of work by other writers, including an excellent article by Elizabeth Kolbert that I ought to point to in a separate post, since it’s about Buckminster Fuller. I think I’ll do it over on Correlations tomorrow.)


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