Thursday, July 2, 2009

Haruki Murakami on New Realism

"A common state of mind among people in the contemporary world is that they become unsure about whether the world they see is actually real. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York in scenes that seemed to be unreal. As video footage of the towers collapsing were shown over and over again, some people might unwittingly and momentarily have felt they were straying into an odd world where no such towering buildings existed. They possibly think there could be a world where U.S. President George W. Bush was not reelected and the Iraq war did not break out.

I think the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995 and the Aum sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March that year made many Japanese experience a sense of dissociation from reality before people of other countries. They asked themselves, "What we are here for?" My novels, except for "Norwegian Wood," do not represent what we call realism, but seem to have started being accepted the world over as works representing new realism--especially after 9/11.

At the same time, I like secular novels like those written by Honore de Balzac [1799-1850]. I wanted to write a "comprehensive novel" in my own style describing present-day social conditions from a three-dimensional standpoint. I tried to embed human life in the contemporary social climate by going beyond the genre of pure literature and by tapping various approaches that each offered something different.


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