The ability to wonder

I just finished 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and loved it. Then looked at the reviews. The once I caught were mostly sneering and looking down at the Murakami’s craft. That pissed me off.

Don’t literary reviewers know the notion on style? If the same (skillful) narrative technique was applied to a film the critics would clearly get it and rave about the sophistication of the director.

Why do so many pompous and condescending reviews of the Murakami’s book point out to its (seeming) shortcomings and don’t allow the possibility that the book’s specific storytelling (supposed over-explaining, giving action though dialogue, cliche characters, describing simply simple and known details of life) might be a choice and a conscious use of such “naive” tricks in order to put a reader under a spell?

Which I think they are and which I find fantastically effective since to me 1Q84 is the deliciously vibrant and alert meditation on the wonder of the now and the human adventure as we all experience it.

I would go on about it but Steven Poole in the Guardian review (unfortunately followed by a horde of “sophisticated” and irritatingly snobbish commentators) has put it quite accurately:

“Murakami's heroes and heroines are all philosophers. It is natural, then, that his work should enchant younger readers, to whom the problems of being are still fresh, as well as others who never grew out of such puzzlements – that his books should seem an outstretched hand of sympathy to anyone who feels that they too have been tossed, without their permission, into a labyrinth.”


Vaclav Havel leaves the room

I dialed a number. She immediately picked up the phone.
- Hi, this is Pawel, I said.
- We’re are all crying here, the Czech woman in Warsaw responded.
It was a few hours after the news of Vaclav Havel’s death went public.
- Can you help with a bit from the unused Havel’s interview?
- I’ll be right over.

With the subsequent help from an American we managed to prepare a few minutes from the final moments of the interview conducted in Prague in the spring of 2010.

In the piece, Havel’s final words before leaving the room seem to be: “Please edit my words properly.”

Can we do that?

Can we honor the spirit and the vision of this man?

The video is available at http://youtu.be/Sv1i2yfgpb0

On the station

Does it have to be that

you are the platform

and I am the approaching train

which will depart shortly?

Or the other way around?

Does it have to be that

one of us needs to step back

when the other approaches,

not being certain

if this is the right connection?

Can’t we just whoosh

through the station


Or stay on the platform

watching the passing trains

and holding hands?