The Peggy Helmerich Library will be closed temporarily for light renovation. We anticipate the closure to last several weeks. During the closure, any items you have placed on hold will be sent to Hardesty Library.
In which we discussed the getting in touch with the creepy side of emotional isolation, the K-Mart Realists, and Haruki Murakami
If you’ve read Haruki Murakami, chances are you haven’t read just one of his novels. T hey are remarkably accessible, yet, like your grandma’s terrarium, Murakami’s stories are teeming with energy below the surface. If I may be so bold, I don’t think it would be a character assault to describe Murakami as a Japanese compatriot of the K-Mart Realists. While Raymond Carver focused on all the nuances of love and relationships, Murakami’s themes deal with alienation, existential dread and angst. (On a side note, Murakami paid tribute to Carver when he published a collection of essays entitled What I Talk About When I talk About Running, borrowing from Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.) The novel After Dark finds a deeply withdrawn protagonist, sipping coffee and reading at Denny’s. It’s a third person omniscient point of view, but I’d venture to describe it as ‘hyper-omniscience’. The reader is guided on a journey from a camera view, looking down on our characters, that not only can see their actions but their thoughts and motivations as well. But sometimes...sometimes his stories can be downright creepy. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Take Eri. Eri, the sister of our introverted coffee drinker, sleeps while a mysterious character watches her from her bedroom TV screen. Oh, and our stalker wears a transparent mask. And the TV turned itself on. While reading, a sense of dread may well in your chest, not unlike the psychological terror evoked by David Lynch’s Lost Highway.
This isn’t a book to pick up if you don’t appreciate a minimalist approach. If you like your fiction with long, flowing, effusive narrative akin to Tom Wolfe (who once famously quipped about the K-Mart Realists, ‘Less is less’), or meandering stream of consciousness like Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, I’d look elsewhere. But…If you want a quick read without sacrificing content, without sacrificing depth and meaning, without foregoing the complexities of emotional isolation, Haruki Murakami just might be your bag.