Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

cranesThousand Cranes is an Oedipal narrative told by Kikuji, who is strongly attracted to his deceased father’s last lover. Set after the end of World War II, it’s a sad, sensual, delicate, somewhat depressive, quiet novel.

Since I started reading Haruki Murakami’s books, I became very interested with other Japanese authors and Japanese culture as well. I’m not much into drinking tea but I’ve read a few things about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony which plays a fundamental part in this book. I’m fairly certain I didn’t quite understand everything about the tea ceremony (or the book entirely) but how Yasunari Kawabata uses these tea cups, tea bowls and utensils to make memories come alive and trace history of these items’ ownership was one reason why I really enjoyed reading this.

I was slightly disappointed with the ambiguous ending but thinking about it now as I write this, it wasn’t really a bad thing.

Quotable Quotes:

“Now, even more than the evening before, he could think of no one with whom to compare her. She had become absolute, beyond comparison. She had become decision and fate.”

“Your mother was such a gentle person. I always feel when I see someone like her that I’m watching the last flowers fall. This is no world for gentle people.”

“He could not call up the faces of his own mother and father, who had died three or four years before. He would look at a picture, and there they would be. Perhaps people were progressively harder to paint in the mind as they near one, loved by one. Perhaps clear memories came easily in proportion as they were ugly.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami

hear-the-wind-singBook #10.

Hear the Wind Sing was Murakami’s first novel, more like a novella actually because it’s very short, and you’d feel it even shorter because of its frequent page breaks.

It’s set in Japan with a nameless narrator on his summer break and his friend known as the Rat who struggles with his everyday life filled with loneliness.

The book isn’t something that lives up to the current Murakami standards. There ain’t much to its plot and it just goes on without anything clear going on. It’s pretty much a collection of the narrator’s encounters with the Rat, with J, and the girl with only nine fingers. Then his being nostalgic about his past relationships.

That said, it doesn’t mean though that I didn’t like this book. There’s no parallel universe in it but there’s a familiar tone. There’s always something interesting in a Murakami novel and as long as it’s read for what it is, you’ll never be disappointed.

Up next : Pinball, 1973

Quotable Quotes :

“There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.”

“Sometimes, I imagine how great it would be if we could live our lives without bothering other people.”

“I like the sky. You can look at it forever and never get tired of it, and when you don’t want to look at it anymore, you stop.”

“…the wind has its reasons. We just don’t notice as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you. The wind knows everything that’s inside you. And not just the wind. Everything, including a stone. They all know us very well. From top to bottom. It only occurs to us at certain times. And all we can do is go with those things. As we take them in, we survive, and deepen.

“Everyone who has something is afraid of losing it, and people with nothing are worried they’ll forever have nothing. Everyone is the same.”

Rating : 4/5 stars