Dance Dance Dance – Haruki Murakami

July 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

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I picked up this book by Murakami from the local library for two reasons. One, because this was the only book by Murakami to be found in the library. And two, because I’ve read somewhere that Murakami does excellently depressing writing, and I thought I’d try him out.

This being my first Murakami book, and considering the fact that it’s a sequal to one of his earlier books, A Wild Sheep Chase, I was a little lost in the beginning, especially around the part when Murakami’s character met with the Sheepman. I was confused at the Sheepman’s sudden appearance, and from their conversation, it felt like they had previously met, though I couldn’t find it anywhere in the book.

When I let that slide, and just let myself get pulled into the story, however, that little detail of me not knowing what had transpired between them previously didn’t seem to matter anymore. Indeed the storytelling was so compelling, it made eating spagetti sound sensuous!

In a nutshell, the plot is about Murakami’s character and his life, about his connections with a certain Dolphin Hotel, and about the people he meets because of it. Yuki, a 13-year-old girl is one of them, being a sensitive person who can sense and feel things that only the very superconscious can.

Almost all the characters in Murakami’s book are twisted and complicated beings, none of them very special, but none of them very mundane either. Perhaps it was the way Murakami wrote, about how his characters spoke, about how they thought. Everything was capable of pulling me deeper and deeper into the storytelling.

Murakami made description of feeling almost some sort of art. For example:

My resignation was a silent rain falling over a vast sea.

I read and re-read that line so many times, I just couldn’t not copy it down. The feeling of helplessness so succinct, the vastness so completely unarguable, it was like swallowing me up whole. There were many more phrases and paragraphs like this that I kept on going back to and re-reading them in my mind, imagining to the deepest part of my soul exactly what it would feel like.

I related not only to Murakami’s central character, but also to Yuki, so much that it felt unreal at moments. Yet it was surprisingly uplifting to be able to relate so closely to these dark, twisted characters, depressing though it may sound. The feeling that everything is tied in together, that everything is connected, all this comes out so clearly in this book. And indeed, it also forms a central theme, this connection of people and events.

Putting depressing aside, Murakami also strikes to me as someone who is completely able to laugh at himself. And it shows in his style of writing. The things that he chooses to make jokes about are so everyday things, but when looked into at such detail, it’s almost funny how we can go about not realising things like that. His writing is funny not in a ha-ha funny way, but funny in a rather dark way. He makes reality even more real by making it into odd humour. And it works oh-so-well.

Conclusion: Awesome book, one that I enjoyed thoroughly. I would definitely put this down as something I’d like to read a second time. And this being my first Murakami book, I think I’m set to being a Murakami fan.

Postscript: I think the page inside the cover is a more engaging cover than the actual cover.

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§ 2 Responses to Dance Dance Dance – Haruki Murakami

  • Mark David says:

    Thanks for writing a great review ๐Ÿ™‚ I have yet to read this one from Murakami since I’ve always been daunted by the thickness of this book (compared to his other works). But having read what you have to say about it, I now plan to get myself a copy and read it one of these days.

    • su says:

      Thanks. You should definitely read it if you’ve always enjoyed Murakami. Excellent book. And it’s great to get to know other Murakami friends lurking in random corners of the earth. ๐Ÿ™‚

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