In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful.
I did something that I haven’t done for a while. Bought a fiction, read from page to page and writing about it here.
It was love and loathe at the same time. When I finished the book, I youtubed Liszt’s Le mal du as played by Lazar Berman and unsprisingly, the comment thread was full of “Murakami brought me here”. The instrumental piece was splendid, beautiful and lace nicely with the plot written by Murakami. I can imagine Tsukuru sitting on a bench, drinking coffee, watching people pass by at the train station.
What I love.
Spoiler alert, the book has an open ending. I can imagine some people might hate it, and will be mind-boggled and thinking that ending was unfinished. Murakami had an unfinished business. (This is my first Murakami’s book so I can’t imagine if this was his typical style or not). But I loved the ending. I was left speechless and dumbstruck (in a positive way) after I finally reached the ending. I opened goodreads to read other people’s thought about the ending and I was in line with these people’s thoughts.
I realized after a second or two, that it did not matter whether Tsukuru end up with Sara or not. What matters was Tsukuru had finally gone through the journey he’s been avoiding to board.
It was about a journey that I personally think every human being can relate to. It might be too dense, full of metaphor and philosophical for some people, but indeed it was a relatable journey to everyone. A life of a lonely man, a journey of growing up, friends you cherish, friends you eventually lost, secret crush on people you cherish, hardships of discovering what you are, going through depressions and stagnant point in your life. It was a relatable journey to everyone.
Some of the extracts from the book:
“No matter how quiet and conformist a person’s life seems, there’s always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives.”
Midorikawa said to young Haida: “Talent can be a nice thing to have sometimes. You look good, attract attention, and if you’re lucky, you make some money. Women flock to you. In that sense, having talent’s preferable to having none. But talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding physical and mental focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and your concentration vanishes, like the dew at dawn. A simple toothache, or stiff shoulders, and you can’t play the piano well. It’s true. I’ve actually experienced it. A single cavity, one aching shoulder, and the beautiful vision and sound I hoped to convey goes out the window. The human body’s that fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something trivial, ad in most cases once it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent’s the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it the next minute, what meaning does it have?”
“Talent might be ephemeral,” Haide replied. “and there aren’t many people who can sustain it their whole lives. But talent makes a huge spiritual leap posible. It’s an almost universal, independent phenomenon that transcends the individual.”
What I hate.
What I hate about the book was the inappropriate descriptions about some of Tsukuru’s private life. I skipped a lot of pages for that as it turned me off. And I might be frowned upon if certain people know that I’m reading this. But it doesn’t matter really, because I know what I want to focus on when I’m reading. Plus, I have no idea what the book is about and I read the review of the book only briefly.
It’s been a while since I read a fiction and it’s very liberating, now. After I’m done with master, I finally thought it would be time to focus on my thoughts, my self-discovery that I’ve abandoned for so long. I understand that yourself is an asset regardless of what you are. You are an asset to the ummah. But if you feel unsure about who you are, your journey that you are going to take isn’t going to be worthwhile as it will cease to be consistent. So you need to know who you are, solidify yourself. Find what defines you.