Watch A Painter Paint

Actually. Should have titled her “Read A Painter Paint”. Nomatter.

Beware dear worst-reader. For there are books and there are books–well written. And then there is writing brilliance that shines above them all. But does that brilliance always motivate to read-on? Oh, how reading such well written books used to hurt. That was before I came to terms with my inner-most worst-writer. That’s how I’d like to write, I’d say after reading Umberto Eco. Or I’ll write like that, I’d whine after completing yet another work by Charles Bukowski. Boy, if I could only write a little bit like Henry Miller! Then I’d go find my corner, shed a tear or a thousand, watch the spiders build cob webs, and then wake in order that I too may go about the business of useless life. The curse goes on. Relief only comes when another book shakes my world.

1Q84 didn’t just sell-out when it was first published. It sold like a million frickin’ copies in Japan alone. The Japanese must love Haruki Murakami. There must also be something very profound about that love. Unfortunately, of all my privileged travels, Japan is the country I’ve missed so far. It’s not that I’ve avoided it, it’s more a feeling that I need not prioritise it. Somewhere deep inside I know I’ll get there someday and there’s just no hurry to do it now. Until then, I’m fortunate enough to live near Düsseldorf where there is a thriving Japanese community mostly made up of bankers and insurance brokers that serve Europe and some pretty authentic RamenSushi and Manga.

Now don’t get me wrong. It took me a while to get through this book. Compared to Kafka On The Shore, this one got off to a slow and challenging start and there were times when it lingered. In fact, even though I finished it three months ago, it still lingers in the back of my head. Murakami has a knack with story-telling, including threading, that sometimes requires a bit more effort to cajole but once connected his genius is revealed. And his genius is not his words. There is something else to Murakami. Perhaps that something has to do with translation. I don’t know. But I prefer to think it’s because of the story. What a story! Murakami is of a mind that makes…

Murakami has to be one of the greatest writers living today. But. Even though I could lap up a thousand pages of Miller in a day or four, it took me almost four months to get through this book. Here’s the thing. Every time I thought the author would steer me to a yawn or a day-dream, he brought me back by way of stealth. I would finish another long, extended passage, turn off my Kindle and a few hours later realise how pre-occupied I was with something from a passage three days prior that connected to the one I just finished. It was as though I was reading something that is and at the same time is not fiction. So real was the experience, so captivating was the whole painting. And that’s perhaps where I want to go, dear worst-reader. Reading Murakami and 1Q84 is like watching a painter paint.

The only problem I have now is that I’ve only read book one. There are two others. And I’m not ready to spend another four or eight months on it. I think this will do.

-Tommi

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tommi

Just another expat blogger.