December 1st, 2007

Kafka On The Shore

Murakami restores my faith in the novel. It's not a worn out form, after all. There are still things to be done with it. New things.

I don't understand this book. I doubt if its writer understands it either. It's both a realist novel and a surpernatural thriller. It's meticulously observant of the texture of modern life and it's full of ghosts, demons,  Fortean phenomena and talking cats.  It's a bildungsroman and a vision quest.  

It's about the way we live now and the way we're going to live. Most contemporary novels, plays, films, TV shows reflect the sensibilities of the 19th and 20th centuries. This one belongs to the 21st.

Further To The Previous Post

That we live in many different dimensions- that's a modern insight but not new. Joyce, Eliot- all that crew- had a firm grasp of it. 

That we live in many different dimensions at once- that's a little more advanced, but still 20th century. It's what Finnegan's Wake is trying to say, isn't it?

That the boundaries between the many different dimensions may be smeared - that we may not notice our passage from one to the other- that's on the cusp. Most modern fiction has gate-keepers in place.

But that the dimensions may smear into one another in ways we do not understand-  that things may happen in this multi-dimensional universe for which we have no explanation, not even a far-fetched one-  that's a quantum way of thinking, a 21st century way of thinking- and that's what sets Murakami and a very few others ahead of  the pack.