I haven´t read 1Q84. Hopefully a relative will bring it back from vacations, along with other books. I´m with "kafka on the shore" atm. I´ve only read a few chapters so far but I´m liking thus far. hopefully once I´m fully in the story and the characters, I´ll be able to enjoy as much as "norwegian wood", SotbB WotS" and "The wind up bird chronicle". I just get completely involved with his main characters and quite often I find what they go through very relatable, though I´m sure I am one of many there.
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Thanks man - have you read 19Q4?
If you've not read it, it might be an interesting way to continue that transition (in the sense that it's also about a woman, sort of, among a lot of other things).
One thing I really liked about SotB,WotS was that it was succinct - 19Q4, and more recently Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World, seemed really, really directionless at points - South of the Border never did.
Also - apologies for the typos above - I'm typing on crazy Chinese keyboards.
Murakami has gradually settled into writing two types of books: the long meandering surreal ones (KotS, WUBC, 1Q84 etc.) and the short, but not slight, ones (SotBWotS, After Dark etc.). I actually prefer the latter. SotBWotS is odd though - as I said in a review a long time ago, it's not so much about love as the things we name as 'love' when we are talking about selfish desires. It's no surprise to find that Murakami is a Raymond Carver fan (and translator of his work into Japanese) because these short novels have a lot in common with Carver's short stories and SotBWotS could indeed have been called 'What we talk about when we talk about love'...
You can always just read two versions of the same story Carver did:
-"The Bath" from WWTAWWTAL = Lish-era, shorter, sharper.
-"A Small, Good Thing" from Cathedral= post-Lish, more expansive, more humane (to me, anyway).
and see which you prefer!
This does seem the perfect time to bring up Sam Lipsyte, though. Anyone here a fan? I know he also studied under Lish, and some of the stories from Venus Drive even bear his mark. He's got a second collection out this week, I believe. I'm really stoked.
Anyway, thanks for the tip on that redux, BOT! That's definitely news I can use.
This thread has come around full circle haha. The first post:
Since Recent Purchases has started devolving into a book discussion thread, I figured it'd be better to just have a separate thread for discussing whatever SW&D is reading. So go ahead.
For me personally, currently reading Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
What we talk about when we talk about love (review):
A collection of Raymond Carver short stories that mainly are set in lower-middle class America. I don't really know what to make of these - I enjoyed, very much, reading the stories, and I particularly liked how inconclusive each one was. A few standouts stories were "So much water so close to home", "The Calm", and "Everything stuck to him" . The prose was quick, very subtle and incredibly sparse - made for a great variation of Murakami's more winding and whimsical stylings.
I couldn't help but feel that these stories would be better enjoyed with a group of people - each one I read I felt contained a lot to discuss, and I was unable to unpack many of them on my own. One quick example of this was the story "Tell the Women we're going" in which two characters decide to leave a family gathering to relax and one ends up killing two girls. The story was laden with meaning, but I wasn't sure exactly what. This reactino was indicative of how I felt about the collection - there was the promise of some extreme insight, but I'm not sure I was up to scruff.
I was often thinking about how people mention Carver's influence on Murakami - one commonality I picked up on was the, generally, inconclusive nature of much of the action in their prose. For example, Murakami's novels often aren't neatly concluded (in a 'they lived happily ever after' way), and Carver's certainly share this trait. Additionally, much of what each author seems to be conveying in regards to their characters is a profound, very subtle, but very real, humanism. Who wrote/posted something on harajuju in which Murakami was quoted as saying he tries to convey the 'dignity' of different people in his characters - while I'm not sure I'd use the word dignity, I do think that one of the strengths of both Carver's and Murakami's writing is that readers, often, are able to walk away knowing what makes the main characters unique, special or engaging - and it's never anythign earth-shattering, or fantastical, it's always something small, but more interesting for that.
This is a good point. My experience with Carver was during a fiction writing class, and if there wasn't the prod to discuss the story I probably would've had a "huh, interesting" reaction and moved on. Might not've sunk in as much as it should.
The best short stories are always like this, I find. My favourite short stories are ones that pose questions rather than answering them. You can still make this work in a more narrative way though - and some 'novels' are essentially collections of linked short stories, for example Walter Mosley's Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Walkin' the Dog.