Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Haruki Murakami and 1Q84 @ The Christian Science Monitor

[more on Haruki for The Christian Science Monitor]
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's prescient fiction
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami uses his novels to peel back the layered chaos of an uncertain world

By Roland Kelts, Contributor

In Haruki Murakami's world, fish fall from the sky near a Tokyo train station, backyard wells lead to personal and political violence, and a giant frog tells a businessman how to save Tokyo from its next major earthquake. The mundane mingles with the absurd, but neither offers solutions in a universe bent toward chaos.

Mr. Murakami cites Franz Kafka as one of his major influences, yet he warms Kafka's chilly detachment with Japanese earnestness, producing novels that anticipate apocalypse without succumbing to easy cynicism. In Murakami's world, chaos is softened by empathy – a quality in sorrowfully short supply, in fiction or in reality, in our 21st century.

"Everything is uncertain," muses Tengo, the male protagonist of Murakami's forthcoming novel, "1Q84," "and ultimately ambiguous." In Murakami's world, uncertainty is the norm. But once you accept it, his stories suggest, you can live and love accordingly. [more @CSM]

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