Articles


Pop Master


Outside looking in
Author in Focus
Garbage Dissect Our Modern Age

Break on through
The elusive Murakami

The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
Terrorism before WTC
Japanese writer probes souls dark kingdom
Big in Japan
The healer
Murakami shares his thougts with students
A Japanese Novelist in Search of Lost Ideals
Inner space
Haruki Murakami does Seattle
Overview of the hard-boiled fiction of hm
The other Speech
dancing as fast as he can
Tokyo Prose
A Voice from Postmodern Japan
The American Scene
Hi Mr Haruki Murakami
The Return from the Lost world
Presents from the dead


Justin Coffin
Inner Space
   
     
  December 11, 1997
  Philadelphia City Paper

 

The wondrous interior worlds of Haruki Murakami.

 
 
"People were no more than dolls set on tabletops, the springs in their backs wound up tight, dolls set to move in ways they could not choose? Most of them died, plunging over the edge of the table."

We are wind-up toys. We know as much about ourselves as we do soup cans without labels, regarding ourselves from the outside, guessing at our own contents. We are moments away from monsters in the subway and strange, subterranean realms. Welcome to Haruki Murakami's existential universe.
 
 
Murakami's works are filled with all of the problems that the post-Cartesian world brings with it. Identity is not in the body, nor does it reside in consciousness. Both his new novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and his 1991 Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World bend and stretch the constraints of how we are who we are, taking more or less normal people and thrusting them into weird, dark underworlds and realities that fold in on themselves.

The constellation of Murakami's characters include different people sharing the same body, a man becoming a living organism within television, and a woman who believes she is the third incarnation of herself in the same lifetime, like Fausto Maijstral in Thomas Pynchon's V. A cat and a person share the same name, people go by acknowledged pseudonyms, and unrelated characters all named Noboru Watanabe show up in several of the stories collected in 1993's The Elephant Vanishes.
 
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