Boredom led me to Haruki Murakami

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If it’s of any consolation, this quarantine made me so bored I decided to finally give Haruki Murakami a chance. If you’re quite a reader, you’ll understand how difficult it is to understand this Japanese author – to enter into his complex realm, a dim place where the things you see didn’t exist and the invisible did. Simply complicated like that.

I couldn’t remember why I decided to buy Blind Willows, Sleeping Woman when it was the 928-pages of IQ84 that has left me curious. But thinking about it right now, probably it was the right choice.

Murakami’s Blind Willows, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories randomly pieced together to make your head ache. Unlike the many short stories that we’ve grown with, each story does not give a resolution, rather, they would unexpectedly get off track when you’re almost at the end – leaving you with a knotted forehead and infinite list of questions that will never be answered.

For someone who’s so accustomed with value-laden stories, I’ve been trying to find some insights in between his musings. But I was left empty-handed. Murakami even acknowledged it himself: there’s no real moral or lesson to be learned from all of this. What is there to learn from the “Man-eating cats”, “Nausea 1979”, “The Year of Spaghetti”, “A Folklore for my Generation: A pre-history of late-stage capitalism”, “Airplane: Or, How he talked to himself as if reciting poetry”, and “The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes”?

Murakami’s stories didn’t ease my boredom. In fact, the stories fed it even more. But what I came to find out is that boredom isn’t that uninteresting at all.

As human beings, we have always been wired to think deeply – after all, we’re the Homo sapiens, the wise men as Carl Linnaeus introduced. We are tasked to make sense of everything. Cogito, ergo sum. However, I like how Murakami tried to oppose what Rene Descartes philosophically proposed – that we sometimes think in order not to be. That we exist here and now, without any particular reason or cause.

And in this pursuit of nothingness, I’ve learned that in the midst of this void lies an unexpected ‘something’ – which is often not so grand, but particularly sensible. Hence, those times spent looking outside the window, staring at whatever is there, slouching on the sofa, blankly gazing at the ceiling, is low-key productivity after all.

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It’s difficult to understand the wisdom of Haruki Murakami. But maybe it’s about time we stop trying to delve into the individuality of the author. Fiction, above all, is a dance of reality and imagination. Maybe he’s just trying to imply a very simple story – the way our friends share stories of people they’re so interested with but we don’t fully know of (and will never be interested of). Yet we persist to listen and keep the conversation going – and maybe, just maybe, we’ll find ‘something’ out of the nothingness.


Community Quarantine has been extended for the nth time, so I guess, the trails have to wait a little longer. We’ll go for more exploration of other books that were left undusted on the shelves for now.

Who’s your current read right now? Let’s exchange thoughts on Facebok and Instagram?See more unnecessary musings on my Twitter.


Other book reads here:


13 thoughts on “Boredom led me to Haruki Murakami

  1. Hey it was lovely to read your thoughts around Haruki Murakami’s books. I have read quite a few books of his and except for Norwegian woods, my thoughts pretty much line up to your regarding the book Kafka. These two are the ones I have read. Although there was nothing particular in moral terms that I learned from him, I did like his writing style and how minutely he described each movement and emotion.

    Surprisingly today I had a boring day with the internet working pretty slow to get any real work out of it. Anyways in boredom I left myself to thinking while watching the still trees outside my window. I guess I had nothing productive out from it. Anyways it was lovely reading your post.

    Best wishes from The Strong Traveller and have a great day.

    Do have a look at my blog whenever you find the time. There are some travel and lifestyle content which you may find interesting. Your thoughts will surely be very valuable. Stay connected. 🙂

    Like

  2. So far I’ve only read this and Norwegian Wood.
    My fave from this collection is “The Mirror”. It was unexpected, given that this was placed after so many stories that I didn’t quite understand. :D

    Liked by 1 person

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