Pale Wire (Popscene)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

South by South West


My march through Murakami continued today as I rolled over South of the Border, West of the Sun, a minor key romance in the same vein as his other novels Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart.

While SotBWotS is not one of the Japanese author's more highly regarded novels, I had no problem tearing right through it, devouring the 200+ pager in one afternoon --> evening; my only break the brief respite of my cohort's weekly happy hour ritual.

The central struggle is over how we deal with the past (Can we control it, or does it control us? What power do we have to define ourselves?) but for the most part it's the same old Murakami: disappearing woman, blank protagonist, hypnotic prose.

The thing about Murakami's romances, as opposed to his more allegorical and dream-like novels, is that they're not about romance. They're about misery. The protagonists struggle with the pains of loneliness and their physical appetites (not necessarily for sex, either) while driven by painful hunger, a deep yearning. Love as not a blessing or a treat, but instead a fix, a brief contentment that provides relief and comfort as fleeting as our own bodies, the gift and the curse.

Yo, DJ! Pump this party!

Roxy Music - "Love is the Drug"

That's our jam.