Thursday, October 27, 2011

1Q84: Four reviewers

  • "And when, after 900 pages of crepuscular sex scenes alternated with sentimental thoughts about adolescent sexuality, the novel turns out to be a shaggy dog story, it no longer seems a guilty pleasure but instead a tremendous waste of the reader’s time."
  • "1Q84 is the only of Murakami’s translated works that’s ever struck me as overwritten. There’s a lot of internal monologue that simply revisits events and dialogue that have already transpired, that attempts to explain subtext or analyze weird happenings that we’re better off left to engage with on our own. Yet it would be wrong to assume that this ambitious novel’s flaws emerge from what might be deemed as padding or a lack of focus on the narrative core; the more 1Q84 strays from its ostensible plot the better it gets."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Haruki Murakami on George Orwell

“I guess we have a common feeling against the system. George Orwell is half journalist, half fiction writer. I’m 100 percent fiction writer. . . . I don’t want to write messages. I want to write good stories. I think of myself as a political person, but I don’t state my political messages to anybody.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Man Booker Prize 2011 for Julian Barnes

"Well, to be honest I think I tell less truth when I write journalism than when I write fiction. I practice both those media, and I enjoy both, but to put it crudely, when you are writing journalism your task is to simplify the world and render it comprehensible in one reading; whereas when you are writing fiction your task is to reflect the fullest complications of the world, to say things that are not as straightforward as might be understood from reading my journalism and to produce something that you hope will reveal further layers of truth on a second reading."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Salman Rushdie on Intellectuals

"Intellectuals are not saints, and can sometimes be very stupid indeed. In the United States, it is very difficult for intellectuals to have an impact on society, whereas in Europe it is more possible. I never knew Foucault. I met Jacques Derrida several times and he had a level of personal vanity which distorted the way he expressed himself. When you look at events, things look chaotic and shapeless, but there is a strong human need for form and shape. What intellectuals can offer amid the shapelessness of the everyday is a sense of 'how to look,' so that you can begin to discern shape and form. They can be fools, but they are about finding meaning and about understanding the world you live in."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Murakami madness!

Release of 1Q84 being barely a week away, you already see a kind of Murakami madness all around. Frankly, I'm also caught in it.

My translator-friend, V. Ramaswamy, himself a Murakami fan, sends me a link to a recent Murakami interview.

By sheer coincidence, though, I'm now reading Kafka on the Shore. I feel addicted to a novel - after a long time. It's a real page-turner,and no cheap material in spite of lots of sex. In fact, I'm having a great time with Kafka, Nakata, Colonel Sanders, Oshima and Hoshino. These characters, not the plot, drive the novel. They are not very real but not unreal either. Hegel, Rousseau, Beethoven, Mozart all pop up during your reading journey, and they help you glean insights about the characters and the life you live. Add to it the dollops of humour that Nakata provides through his naivete and "not being bright'. Murakami is not only a seasoned pro, he is also a writer of huge intellectual capacities.

I also read an old Haruki Murakami interview published in the Paris Review to know about the novelist and his art of fiction.

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