Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Tidbits of Tragic, Beautiful, and Humorous Quirkiness

I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami’s book ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’. It’s the first real short-story collection which was published abroad.

Some of the stories like Firefly appeared in some of his novels like Norwegian Wood.

In his introduction, he said, “There was a period when narratives I’d written as short stories, after I had published them, kept expanding in my mind, developing into novels. A short story I had written long ago would barge into my house in the middle of the night, shake me awake and shout, ‘Hey, this is no time to be sleeping! You can’t forget about me, there’s still more to write!’ Impelled by that voice, I would find myself writing a novel. In this sense, too, my short stories and novels connect inside me in a very natural, organic way.”

No, these are not the words of a drug-addict but a statement of an eccentric genius.

The stories vary from the surreal to coming-of-age, topics about love, friendship, society, ghosts, death and suicide, sex, but mostly about suicide and even more oddities of oddities.

Here are some excerpts from stories that I’ve already read-

“Everything was simple, and direct. Cause and effect were good friends back then; thesis and reality hugged each other as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And my guess is that the sixties were the last time that’ll ever happen again. A Prehistory of Late-Stage Capitalism- that’s my own personal name for that age.”

“As in every generation, there were all kinds of people, with all kinds of values. But the difference between the sixties and the decades before and after was that we were convinced that someday all those differences could be overcome.”

- from ‘A Folklore for my Generation’

“Then, suddenly, I pictured those cats, starving to death in a locked apartment. I- the real me – was dead, and they were alive, eating my flesh, biting into my heart, sucking my blood, devouring my penis. Far away, I could hear them lapping up my brains. Like Macbeth’s witches, the three lithe cats surrounded my broken head, slurping up that thick soup inside. The tips of their rough tongues licked the soft folds of my mind. And with each lick my consciousness flickered like a flame and faded away.”

-          from ‘Man-eating Cats’

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it… Death was in everything around me- inside the paperweight, inside the four balls on the pool table. As we live, we breathe death into our lungs, like fine particles of dust.”

-          from ‘Firefly’

My friends say this is the most emo-thing on earth. I said, “Anything that you don’t understand is emo to all of you. For me, anybody who doesn’t understand this is an idiot.”

Enjoy reading my friends!

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