There are wells, deep wells, dug in our hearts. Birds fly over them.
— Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball 1973
Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood squeezed in the leftist side of mom’s bookshelf in a really low profiile replaced the sex education part of the biology class in middle school, that’s the only impression I had for Haruki Murakami. It’s not fair for him, now I would say. Usually, I hesitate in reading a writer’s first one or two books, but this time, I made the right choice in revisiting Haruki Murakami in about ten years.
The design of the book brings you back to the age of cassette, A & B, two sides, but upside down. I actually read Pinball, 1973 first, and Hear the Wind Sing. It’s the wrong order, but themes are pretty much the same.
I’m surprised how fast I could get a hold of Murakami’s style of writing, and as an entrepreneur (let’s use this hot term so far) who runs a bar, his grasp of a style and structure of a story is really a gifted talent. His writing brings a gulp of fresh but chill air, like walking along a creek, on the rotten leaves, with your lover, friend, talking about life and leaving.
Somehow I feel running a bar gives Murakami a deep understanding of life, or maybe that’s not the reason. Meeting numerous people? There is a profound sensation of life in his writing, even soaked in despair, in the inevitable farewells to friends and loved ones. Vividly, that’s how we live. We cannot get hold of anything forever, one has to let it go, it doesn’t matter what is it. IT! He said: language is tough. Yes, and it is tougher to master it.
In several places, he mentioned Kennedy, indicating how influential JFK’s death was in that age. But, his writing has never been political enough, which is precious and cherish able. That’s how politics affect us. It’s not a big deal, but it’s flowing in daily conversations. Mundane. Plain. Full of meaning.
The tone in both books are similar, stories are consistent, it’s very Murakamique. I was fascinated by how he talked about his “kitchen stories” and his attempt to write in English. Another Nabokov maybe? Another language, another interpretation of life, another Murakami.
For what we feel about life, not the abstract concept, but the life itself, the LIFE that accompanied us everyday, Murakami knows the best, expresses it to the perfection. It is not the perfection of narrating, but the imperfect image of a life portray. It’s ours. Everyone’s life. We encounter death, leaving, birth and some other insignificances, such as pride or dilemmas. It continues or it may stop. It’s just as natural as it sounds.
Like Pinball game, the classic game in Microsoft system. Now it impresses nobody, but was also my favourite game. I wasn’t a thinker like Murakami while playing it, but when he points out that Pinball machine is all about acceptance but not self-transformation, I realised it is what fascinated me.
Stories are there, we could choose to tell it while let the birds fly.