Friday, June 23, 2006

Interview with Haruki Murakami

A rare longish article on/interview with Murakami feature here, on The Age. While it covers all the usual ground such as Murakami's bar, Peter Cat, his estrangement from the Japanese literary establishment, the predilection for pop culture, the quasi-real nature of his novels, the obsession with loneliness and so on and so forth, it also features some interesting quotes from the man himself. On his original fiction versus translation work for instance, "Writing fiction, you get egotistical. You have to have confidence. But translating, you have to respect the text, so your ego shrinks to normal size. It's good for your mental health."

Or - on his isolation from Japan's literary establishment, "I have no models in Japanese literature. I created my own style, my own way. They don't appreciate this." He almost sounds like one of his heroes...

Be warned though, the article is either too long, or strictly for Murakami fans only!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


If the room stays dark like this for long enough, maybe I can work out what my soul really is. It’s hard to think when there is too much light. There is too much light in this world as it is. If I focus long enough, maybe I will finally see my soul. Our books tell us that the soul never dies, that it only moves on from one state to another. My body then, it’s like a hollow mud pot, this liquid filling it to the brim. I feel it sloshing around in my chest, but no, that’s probably just phlegm. In this quiet dark, I see my soul fluttering like a butterfly, just out of my reach. Maybe I will never catch it. One wing blue, another red, my good and bad karma battling each other, always in balance. I won’t have any final judgement, just this balance, always flying on, another home, and then another, and another. Maybe I’ll never really find any rest.

She lies placed on her side, her back has turned sore. The ward is quiet, everyone asleep except for a nurse on duty. In the morning, they find that she has gone. Mother worked too much, she never took care of herself, her children say, wiping their eyes. Before her body leaves for the crematorium, all the visitors stop to look at mother, and exclaim, how restful she looks. Her colleagues from the college marvel at her peaceful visage. She never looked like this when she was alive, they whisper. We did our best for her really, her sons protest to everyone. Although no one asks them to explain.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Irresponsible Girl

He said that he would wait for me, where has he vanished. Ayyayyo, I can’t see appa anywhere, the girl in the red paavadai yells, her voice snaking itself up, over the noise of the market. Kanna, whom are you waiting for, a large voice behind her rides over her ears, its roughness like the stroke of sandpaper. She runs, quickly at first, then slowly, then down to a walk. She must not lose him, she knows that. Her mother has warned her many times, there are bad men around, they will do frightening things to her. Maybe take her away somewhere and do things so unmentionable that her mother will never say what they are. But she knows they are real enough. There is the tasmac wine shop in the distance, at the end of the market, dirtier than the rest of it. Is her father there? He could be. She has seen him often enough, when her mother sends her to the chakki past the market. When she has seen him there in the past, she has walked past quickly, looking into the ice cream shop on the opposite end, covering up her embarrassment with the pretence of greed. It is not clear to her why she is embarrassed, but she is. And now he is missing. Her mother will scold her when she comes back. I asked you to take him to the doctor safely, didn’t I, you good-for-nothing girl, she will say, giving her a sharp one on her head. They say his liver is gone, now you’ve lent him to the wine shop again, you will make me a widow before my time, her mother will howl. Why am I so irresponsible, I just went in to that shop for a minute, the girl in the red paavadai sits down and begins to cry.