Daily Archives: April 2, 2008

Like a benign psychotic episode: East/West imagination in "Kafka on the Shore" (2005)

First published in Japan in 2003 and very ably translated by Philip Gabriel in 2005, Haruki Murukami’s Kafka on the Shore blends elements of the Chinese/Japanese ghost story with western popular culture, high culture and philosophy into a mix that is downright entertaining when you allow yourself to be drawn in, as I found myself doing with no problem at all. The result is rather like a benign bout of psychosis, mind you. There is also some of the best writing about sex I have seen in a long time, and I always feel that is very hard to get right so that the cliches of pornography are somehow transcended, without it getting quite as ridiculous as, I’m afraid, is the case with some of the more famous scenes in D H Lawrence.

Partly this novel works because no matter how outlandish what is happening really is, it is realised with such precision. One review noted that Murukami was translating Catcher in the Rye into Japanese at the time he was writing this, and I can see the connection; equally the novel is an embodiment, and in places quite a sharp explanation of, the essence of Greek tragedy. It is of course pomo to the hilt, but more brilliant than that might suggest.

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Posted by on April 2, 2008 in Asian, Best read of 2008, creativity, Fiction, humanity, inspiration, reading


Successful bloggers

This morning WordPress reports:

Stuff White People Like and I Can Has Cheezburger have been topping our Blogs of the Day charts for some time. Now the New York Times reports that both of those blogs have received book deals. “Stuff” apparently got a $300k advance. The books based on their blogs are due out this Fall. Congratulations to both of them!

I featured the first one here on 9 March.

One of the consistent top blogs on WordPress is also one of the most original pieces of social commentary/satire I have seen in many a day. Its deadpan delivery works far better than any rant you might imagine, yet it really does get in below the belt at times. That I have to acknowledge some of my own fetishes with a somewhat wry grin is testimony to the effectiveness of…


And here is another blog for you to meet, but in a totally different vein.

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Posted by on April 2, 2008 in blogging, other blogs, writers, writing