Avalon So Long, part 2

Friday, continued…

Safely landed and back home. As I was saying, I have started reading “The Wind up Bird Chronicle” – about 100 pages in so far. Murakami is either a genius or a bore, I can’t decide which. Perhaps neither. I have come to the conclusion that if I were to be forced to read this book for a class, I would find it tedious. But having come to the book at the end of vacation, it seems (as Murakami would have it) quite profound.. possibly. Every thing I have read by Murakami is infused with coincidences and pseudo meaning. The plots are not tight. They evolve slowly and hint at deep meaning. It’s all very Japanese. What’s strange is the fact that I am still in the mindspace of tight alleyways and hidden domiciles, and, … what the! As if by chance we have a narrator who has recently quit his job (time on his hands) and is exploring strange little corridors and backspaces behind his house which connect to abandoned houses down the street from him, where he hopes to find his wife’s lost cat. Cats! Again! Just like in “Kafka on the Shore”. Then there’s people who “know stuff”, capped up wells, and other subterranean features (as in “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”), not to mention a lost polka-dot tie retrieved from the dry cleaner’s after six months, and clairvoyants. Vintage Murakami stuff, which is either maddening (if you have to read it) or refreshing, if you read it in the right spirit.

I would like to propose here and now that the Postmodernists have completely missed the boat if they have not put reading conditions on the table. A significant part of a book’s meaning arises out of the circumstances in which it is read. Reading on a balcony is different than reading on a plane. Reading because you have to is different than reading because you choose to. Reading when your life is stable and sound is different than reading when you are in turmoil. Really… the reader’s situation is probably the most important aspect of all.

Lastly, and already I am running out of steam, the movie which I passively watched on the plane was called “Elizabethtown” and looked good. I plugged into it now and then, but mostly just watched when I happened to look up from reading “The Wind up Bird Chronicle”. The guy, Orlando Bloom, seemed to be at some sort of family reunion where he didn’t really fit in. The adorable Kirstin Dunst, who is just so damn competent, was his leading lady. Bloom was drifting, cut loose from his moorings, in a dangerous yet fruitful space, between jobs perhaps, just like… damn! just like the narrator in the book I’m reading. Just like a guy between vacation and work. Woah! This stuff is getting scary. What does it all mean?

Driving home last night I opened the sunroof and let the night air in. The countryside is do dark, and the houses so far apart! It seemed different, yet, somehow … the same….


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