43: South of the Border, West of the Sun

This week was an easy one.
I think, for reasons I can’t fully explain, this is my favorite Murakami book so far.

spoilerz aheadzz

as I was typing up the quotes I was trying to think why I chose them, because usually when I see those words again it’d be extremely obvious why I chose them in the first place. But some of the quotes I chose (at the time of the reading) are very plain and they don’t stand out for any reason, but there must be a reason why I liked them enough to jot down notes for it.

Similar to a few other Murakami works, we have a male protagonist who’s mostly unaffected by the outside world, when he’s younger he has a best friend that’s a girl who has a limp leg. They grow apart when one of them moves away and he goes on with his life. Nearing his mid-life crisis, she reappears, but he’s already settled with a family. He doesn’t go through much soul-searching but he pretty much ends up choosing her because of this overwhelming desire. His wife, on the other hand, is completely understanding but at the same time demands that he choose between her and her children or the mysterious woman.

We honestly don’t know anything about her, which makes me think she’s a hallucination of some sort.

I didn’t really get the ending, I only could come up with the conclusion that she was a hallucination, or a dream.

Beautifully written as always, but I felt like it was a surreal way to deal with mid-life crisis.

page 81: “Our world’s exactly the same. Rain falls and the flowers bloom. No rain, they wither up. Bugs are eaten by lizards, lizards are eaten by birds. But in the end, every one of them dies. They die and dry up. One generation dies, and the next one takes over. That’s how it goes. Lots of different ways to live. And lots of different ways to die. But in the end that doesn’t’ make a bit of difference. All that remains is a desert.”

page 94: “I can’t build a simple shelf. I have no idea how to change an oil filter on a car. I can’t even paste on a postage stamp straight. And I’m always dialing the wrong number. But I have come up with a few original cocktails that people seem to like.

page 98: maybe I had an illusion, I thought. I stood there a long time, gazing at the rainswept streets. Once again I was a twelve year-old boy staring for hours at the rain. Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you gradually feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality. Rain has the power to hypnotize.

But this had been no illusion. When I went back into the bar, a glass and an ashtray remained where she had been. A couple of lightly crushed cigarette butts were lined up in the ashtray, a faint trace of lipstick on each. I sat down and closed my eye. Echoes of music faded away, leaving me alone. In that gentle darkness, the rain continued to fall without a sound.

page 151 – 152 A few unsettled weeks like this, and I found myself again able to concentrate. I’m going nowhere fast here, I decided. So I called a designer and an interior decorator to discuss remodeling the bars. They were overdue for a little remodeling anyway, and it was high time I did some serious thinking about how I ran my business. Just like with people, with bars there’s a time to leave them alone and a time for change. Being stuck in the same environment, you grow dull and lethargic. Your energy level takes a nosedive. Even castles in the air can do with a fresh coat of paint. I started with the other bar, saving the Robin’s Nest for later: I began by removing all the hyper-chic aspects of the bar, which, when you came right down to it, were a pain in the butt, the whole point being to come up with an efficient functional workplace.

page 156: If I could cry, it might make things easier. But what would I cry over? Who would I cry for? I was too self-centered to cry for other people, too old to cry for myself.

Posted: March 20th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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