Book 59 Completed
My Friday was a little rough. I had a mixed day at school — a lesson that went really well for my juniors, a newspaper staff that didn’t miss a single deadline, a student interaction that went really poorly (I even had a DREAM last night that I got a do-over…there’s no escaping my constant self-reflection), and another student interaction that just left me feeling sad.
At any rate, I arrived home exhausted. I sat down on the couch to read a book to Elliott, and I almost fell asleep right then and there. Matt went off to cover a football game, and somewhere between putting Elliott to bed and pulling a muscle in my chest (I swear I heard it just “rip” — the pain was so severe, I thought I was having a heart-attack. Nope. Just a pulled muscle. But I was stuck in one position until Matt found me, crying and rigid), I finished After Dark by Murakami.
I really liked it.
But don’t ask me to explain it to you. It’s like this: If I were in college and taking a class on Murakami, I feel like I could muster up enough cool sounding theories and connections to meander my way through an essay or some class discussions. I wouldn’t be the expert, but I wouldn’t be the idiot either. But so help me, I’m just making it all up as I go along. So, if you want me to try to explain the Sleeping Beauty girl stuck in the television set…I can try. Really, I can — I made my own meaning out of the bizarre and that’s all that matters with books like this.
Which is also why I don’t know what else to say about it.
It’s really readable, despite its plotless meandering. The idea of a girl unable to wake up, maybe kept captive, maybe not, watching her subconscious or her reality through a television screen is compulsively interesting. The dialogue between the sleeping girl’s sister and the trombone player who corners her in a Denny’s restaurant is equal parts sad, touching, and funny. The characters at the Love Hotel deserved more page-time, but even in their short appearances, were full and sharp and unique. There are these passages and lines that beg to be highlighted and stuck in frames on walls to be read again and again. (I have a habit of doing exactly that — and Murakami still holds a place on my wall with a quote from Kafka on the Shore.)
That’s really all I can say about it. It’s not his best work, certainly; not my favorite…I really liked it anyway. I didn’t feel like reading it was like wading through molasses. I got lost in this version of Tokyo, laughed at his familiar descriptions of Love Hotels, and felt like the ending left me pondering, wondering, really, really, thinking. After Dark was nice. So, good bye Japan. I’m off to the Philippines next.