Bookish ( not quite part two )

August 6, 2011

“When you have a dream, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. If you wake up, the dream is gone. You can’t see the sequel. But I can do that, because I am a writer.” – Haruki Murakami

Early in my relationship with my husband, he gave me this book to read by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Since then, I have spent most of my time in Korea reading something by him. In many ways, it is a parallel for being a caucasian who has permanently expatriated to a country like Korea.

Though Murakami’s novels and stories all have different plots, many elements are repeated throughout his work. There is almost always a jazz bar, a talking cat, a beautiful woman more ghost than human who disappears. Most importantly, Murakami’s main characters are ordinary men who find themselves slipping in and out of reality and the fantasy that lies so closely beneath.

That is my Korea, sometimes. The sophistication of Seoul blankets the strangeness most of the time. This is a very old country, though, full of ghosts, stubborn traditions, messy explosions of color and a special kind of logic. At least once a day, I slip down underneath the normalcy and experience that other dimension.

It’s actually kind of pleasant. If anyone were going to write my life, I would, without hesitation, pick Murakami.

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