I began Haruki Murakami’s book Dance Dance Dance with high hopes. I’ve already read 5 of his novels, including one directly related to this, A Wild Sheep Chase. My high hopes were in no way disappointed! As I finished this book last night, I literally just sat on the couch and stared at the wall for a while…running back through my mind the final few chapters of the novel. I don’t know if it’s from my widening experience of reading Murakami, or reality, but the end part of this book seemed to be some of his most potent writing that I’ve experienced.
The story basically picks up 3 years after A Wild Sheep Chase, and though it’s not technically part of the Rat Trilogy, I would say it’s good to at least read A Wild Sheep Chase beforehand because it allows you to get to know the main character (and several minor characters) rather well. I could have understood the book fine on its own, but its power was increased because of my prior reading. As I neared those final few powerful chapters (and especially the last one), my knowledge of the narrator made their impact even more profound.
Dance is typical Murakami – stunningly well written (and translated), with beautifully smooth transitions between everyday world we all live in and the dream-like alternate realities his characters encounter. I’ve said it before, but no one reminds me as much of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the ease with which we move between the magical and the “real.” Perhaps Murakami is not purely “magical realism” (though at times I think that could be argued…), but the dream world is an ever waking reality in his novels. I find myself often in a semi-dreamlike state while reading him, drawn into the world he creates and living in it, as it were my own. The rare novelist who can do that is a true master!
I’ll leave you with just a taste of Murakami:
“…It was cool as water. Time wavered, sequentiality twisted, gravity lost its force. Memories, old memories, like vapor, wafted up. The degeneration of my flesh accelerated. I passed through the huge, complex knot of my own DNA. The earth expanded, then chilled and contracted. Sheep were submerged in the cave. The sea was one enormous idea, rain falling silently over its vastness. Faceless people stood on the beachhead gazing out to the deep. And endless spool of time unraveled across the sky. A void enveloped the phantom figures and was encompassed by a yet greater void. Flesh melted to the bone and blew away like dust. Extremely, irrevocably dead, said someone. Cuck-koo. My body decomposed, blew apart – and was whole again.” (p.391)
You can pick up Dance Dance Dance at your local, independent bookstore, or at Amazon.
Post by Matthew Jackson