A night’s read – Pinball, 1973
I would like to share with you one of my greatest pleasures. A night’s read.
Allow me to explain what I mean by that, as it might not readily occur to you. By calling it a nights read, I am referring to the ability of someone of average reading speed (not my wife, who will easily read 800 pages in a day)to read the entirety of a work in a single sitting. Longer than a short story and more complete than a chapter. Initially it was the idea of sitting down to read a complete work as a night’s entertainment. With the internet having a near infinite supply of reading material, I found that I could share this pleasure with others quite easily. Often a quick search will turn up the darnedest things, those little nuggets that have disappeared from the world of the printed page. Or things that were never published in this country but we fans have heard of. Being able to post these bits up in a location like OT allows for one of my other favorite things, discussion.
Haruki Murakami is now known as one of the foremost writers in the world, with readers eagerly awaiting each new work like Beatles or Stones fans awaiting new albums. From a very modest starting point of writing in the wee hours after closing his jazz bar, Murakami has gradually become the voice of modern Japan. With his novels and short stories combining a strong sense of place mixed with incredible surrealism, few western readers realize that one of the strongest points of his early fictions is his use of the boku narrator to drive his tales. To elaborate, Boku is the Japanese word that Murakami uses for “I”, and while his is not the first works to do this he is one of the first to look at Japan with western sensibilities using this feature. Murakami initially wrote in English and translated his works back to Japanese line by line, another aspect of his early works that moved it out of the realm of more traditional Japanese writers.
Pinball, 1973 was his second novel, following the prize winning Hear the Wind Sing, but it is truly the novel where he finds his voice. Like most of his works it is about loss. A loss that you are not quite sure of what is gone, and therefore have no idea on how to get it back.
So, please read this with me.