# AMREADING HARUKI
Two short novels Murakami wrote them in the 70s. His mode of
operation: When I got home late from
work, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote. The desire to write felt like something that had come
fluttering down from the sky, and I had caught it cleanly in my hands…It was
like a revelation. Or maybe “epiphany” is a better word.
result was a kind of diary/philosophy of life.
COOL.There was a time when everyone
wanted to be cool. I
decided to express only half of what I was really feeling. For the next several
years this was how I behaved. At which point I discovered that I had turned
into a person incapable of expressing more than half of what he felt.
appeared as though time had stopped, as if all of a sudden its flow
had been severed. He had no idea why things had changed. Nor did he know
how to search for the severed end…He was s powerless and lonely as a winter fly
stripped of its wings, or a river confronting the sea. An ill wind had arisen
somewhere, and it was blowing the warm, familiar air that had embraced him to
the other side of the planet.
CITY. I sniffed rain. A few autumn birds
cut across the sky. The drone of the I was everywhere, a mix of countless
sounds: subway trains, sizzling hamburgers, cars on elevated highways,
automatic door opening and closing.
MACHINE – THE MASTER. He would
insert one of the coins to start the machine, snap the plunger a few times, and
then shoot a ball out onto the playfield in a bored sort of way. With that
single ball he checked the magnets on all the bumpers, tested all the lanes,
and knocked down the targets one by one. The drop target, the kick-out hole,
the rotating target. Next, he set off all the bonus lights and then wrapped up
the job by dispatching the ball into the exit drain with a look of complete
disinterest. All in less time than it takes to smoke half a cigarette.
THAT HAPPENED 23/9/2017.
traffic jam on Gardiner Expressway. Pixellated sign says: All lanes closed. For
about ten minutes we just sit there, then inexplicably – no, miraculously-- the
traffic loosens up and the flow returns to normal. No explanation.
Elias baulks at drinking from a bottle. He prefers the breast. He cries a great
deal, but in the end decides to make peace with me and smiles (without however
giving in on the bottle issue). Very few people can combine forgiveness with
principles! I see a great future for this kid.
fox crosses in front of my car on Lakeshore Boulevard. He isn’t in a great
hurry and stops at the curb to watch my car speeding up again. Maybe he was
suicidal. Maybe he just got a kick out of challenging cars. Maybe he was a she.
#AMREADING Richard FLANAGAN’S
THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH
is the story of Dorrigo Evans, a prisoner in a Japanese POW camp working on the
Thai-Burma railway. A story of love and death, good and evil, the novel moves
back and forth between 1943 and contemporary Australia.
village overrun by the French: The
attack had transformed the Australian defenders into things not human, drying
dark-red meat and fly-blown viscera, streaked, smashed bone and the faces clenched
back on exposed teeth. When they came upon the broken houses, the dead
donkeys and goats, the corpses of their comrades, they smoked to keep the dead out of their nostrils, they joked to keep the
dead from preying on their minds.
years later, Dorrigo is famous and tired of fame. He sensed the coming of a new neater world, a tamer world, a world of boundaries
and surveillance, where everything was known and nothing needed to be
experienced. He understood his public self – the side they put on coins and
stamps – would meld well with the coming age, and that the other side, his
private self, would become increasingly incomprehensible and distasteful, this
side others would conspire to hide.
AN ANTIDOTE TO JAMES
JOYCE’S FINNEGANS WAKE.
riverun, past Eve and Adam’s, past the whole schmear of history and back and
again. Joyce was forty when he felt the
ennui of Solomon --nothing new under the sun. I’m a hundred years old (using a
round figure here) and still refuse to believe in the vicus of recirculation. Take the Fall, for example. It hasn’t come
around to me yet, and it isn’t inevitable. I knew a man once who managed to
avoid The Fall. He was an innkeeper like Everybody in Joyce’s epic, who would
not give us his name beyond the
normative letters HCE. My man (let’s keep it simple and call him Francis),
somehow muddled through and kept upright and wallstrait throughout his life. He left school at the age of ten,
thinking once he knew how to count clittering
up and clottering down, and how to
read and write (punctuation optional), he knew everything he needed for life,
or if there was anything lacking he could pick it up on the way. That little slip
(if leaving school can be called a slip) is hardly in the same category as the
Primeval Fall unless you turn the classroom into a kind of Eden and reverse the
whole biblical story so that not
eating from the tree of knowledge is the Great Sin, which I personally believe
is true. Starving oneself of knowledge and refusing to ascend from animal to
human being is the Great Sin, but Francis can’t be accused of that. He continued
acquiring knowledge in his own way and he was human enough, all things
considered. Since he wouldn’t go back to school, his mother, Mary, apprenticed
him to her brother-in-law who was the owner of a smithy. In spite of her promising name, Mary was not
immaculate, but let it not be said that she abandoned her child to fate. Rather
she fitted him out with a new pair of boots to step into his new apprenticeship-life. The smithy was in an out-of-the-way place. It
took Francis half a day’s sturdy walking to get there, by which time his
toenails were black and blue, and his heels a bloody mess of oozing blisters
because the boots were practically, but not entirely new, having belonged, very
briefly, to a child who died of the measles, and whose feet had been a tad smaller
than Francis’. This painful state of things was soon remedied by cutting a hole
into the upper part of the shoe to make room for Francis’ toes and allow air to
circulate very pleasantly on a hot summer’s day. It did occur to Francis that
the same hole could become a liability when winter came and the weather turned
icy, but he did not wait for winter to come.
He ran away in the month of September because he could no longer stand
the drubbings he regularly got from his uncle, and since he had kept the
cut-off pieces of leather, he was able to exchange his boots for a solid pair
of rubbers after convincing a peddler that the patches might be sewn back on
and the boots restored to serve another man with smaller feet. And so he returned
to his widowed mother, no longer widowed, who considered both the rubber boots
and her son’s return a change for the worse.