This is another attempt to read a Murakami. This time, it’s a 606-paged novel. It took me about 2 months to finish because these past months and weeks were very eventful and I didn’t have much free time to concentrate on reading. I started of fast and continuously until the remaining ¾ of the book where I had to slowly read each chapter in a staggered manner.
First, let me just describe the book before I would attempt to summarize it.lol I’ve read 4 Murakami books and I’m already thinking that his name equates to surreal books. Yes. It’s another surreal and psychedelic story. Just like all the other books of his I read, I just have to let myself get carried away and just pay no heed to whether the events were happening in real life, in dreams or just plain hallucination.
It was a story of a Mr. Okada, an ordinary man with a wife named Kumiko. The couple’s cat suddenly disappeared and Mr. Okada tried to find it. From here, things got strange and even stranger….
In the process of looking for the cat he met Malta Kano and Creta Kano, siblings with somehow weird powers; May Kasahara, a young girl with somehow weird views and perception of things.
As the story progresses, Mr. Okada also lost his wife. The wife admitted, through a letter, that she went away with another man. Noburo Wataya, his wife’s brother also met him once to ask him to consider divorcing Kumiko.
Then more strange things happened like the appearance of a miraculous blue mark on his face after going and dreaming into a well inside the hanging house. Eventually this mark was able to heal people. Characters come, tell their unusual stories and go, like Lieutenant Mamiya, veteran of WWII, Nutmeg, the lady she met while sitting at the train station and helped her rent the hanging house, Cinammon,Nutmeg’s son who stopped speaking for no apparent reason, Ushikawa, Noburo Wataya’s assistant.
Like Mr. Okada, I also turned crazy. It was a relief to see the pages to almost end and some mysteries were answered and explained. It was like a dream for me as well. Lol
In the book, he tackled heinous world war stories (Lt Mamiya and Honda), man’s search for identity, which I can strongly relate with as of the moment, loneliness (Mr. Okada) and alienation (May Kasahara).
This book left me with a lot of questions to be answered, but it is one of those books where the crazy journey matters more and is more important than the ending itself. So, just don’t think to much and just go with flow and dream with Mr. Okada..=)
With that I want to end this entry with my favorite quotes from the book;
“Is it possible, finally, for a human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close are we able to come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone? Chapter 2, pg 24
“Well, don’t you think guts and curiosity are kind of similar?” said May Kasahara, “where there’s guts there’s curiosity and where there’s curiosity, there’s guts. No?”
Chapter 5 pg 65
“…Sometimes I get soooooo scared! I’ll wake up in the middle of the night all alone, hundreds of miles away from anybody, and it’s pitch dark, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I get so scared I want to scream….” (Exactly how I’m feeling) Chapter 15 pg 449
At Kampong Java park, near the pond, to concentrate on reading this book!