Some Haruki Murakami books

I stopped by the airport bookstore and bought a Haruki Murakami novel, Sputnik Sweetheart. I finished reading it the next day. Afterwards, I read Norwegian Wood. A friend recommended those books. Some of the passages were very moving, and Murakami perfectly captured feelings of longing. I didn’t particularly like the books, probably because it is so difficult to empathize with the characters. The main characters live self-described hollow, aimless lives, usually going by routine, reading books and generally not interacting with their peers. Then they’re attracted to manic dissociative girls, the kind of quirky girl that could be played by Zooey Deschanel, the kind of girl that cannot properly function in society. And I’m really sick of this trope, that glorifies dysfunction as some exciting gem amidst the one-dimensional, the conformists, the sophists. Because in reality it is very painful to live with a crazy person. And “normal” people are really not so stupid and unthinking like lemmings, and everyone is facing some kind of battle and has hopes and dreams and multidimensionality so I get annoyed by characters that make these sweeping generalizations of the human race and are generally apathetic and unloving. And what also annoyed me is the characters are overly detached, and never have a sense of urgency. When something comes up, like say… the girl you like has mysteriously disappeared, well then, let’s just eat food! Keep the reader in suspense. Eat food, listen to records that showcase my cosmopolitan tastes in classical music and jazz, namedrop some famous books and authors, talk about wells and cats, drink whiskey. Then after having pages of description about preparing food and domestic stuff, the kind of simple visceral actions that everyone can relate to that give warm feelings of home and self-actualization, throw in some jarring imagery and erotic sex scenes. And that is the formula for a Murakami novel derived from a sample size of two. There is such hopelessness in the books, characters living lives of quiet desperation. Do readers buy into this? Yes, people struggle and have to do stuff they don’t like doing to get by, but it has always been like this; it is not as though this is some recent development of modern living, if anything we now spend less time acquiring the necessities and more time pursuing our interests. And in the real world, there is more resiliency, more love, and even dull activities do not seem so pointless when motivated by love.

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