Pinball – Haruki Murakami.
Is that possible for a writer to keep churning out books by books and still keep the quality intact in all of them? In my quest to unearth the fact I decided to read 4 books back to back from Haruki Murakami. This one being the second of a four book series, whose fourth part an “Enemy Friend” as I told you in my last post, gifted me. Since I had to read em all I thought why not kill two birds with one shot ;). Although this (read these) are his very initial writings, I am sure of that but still its shocking that even then his ramblings were way too good in comparison to what his counterparts were churning out then. Although the trend continues from where he left in the first one, he refuses to disclose the location, refuses to name the characters and they are all weirdly referred to, the biggest yet is that I am keeping a very keen eye on knowing who the protagonist is, even that he simply refuses to disclose. I hope and guess by the time I read the fourth, I will be able to know who or actually what was the name of the guy whose life story he has told me in this “Rat Trilogy” with a fourth book as an “Epilogue” to it all. Can you believe all that? That my friend is Haruki Murakami the magician of words I will say. Again to my shock, surprise, sadness and what not, what I am reading are of-course the work of translators and it is indeed sad to see at so many places where they do word to word translation without using their brains but I forgive them for still giving me a terrific story as told by the master in original. (I refuse to learn Japanese in future and will stick to translations :)).
Second book of the series and story still goes nowhere, the unnamed protagonist with a handful of friends (other characters) is out of school and has started a business of translations 🙂 you see Murakami has a sense of humor too. His partner another unnamed guy has the capital so he gets half the share, a girl that they hire to help gets one share and our hero gets the four remaining shares thats how their life goes. He still has a dear friend the “Rat” whose actual story is the whole series all about. And they both frequent their favorite bar owned by a guy called J. Who is their confidante too. Although the story goes nowhere almost but takes some hilarious turns like protagonist’s live in relations with a set of Twins who he calls 208 and 209 respectively as the T shirts they wear have those numbers. Sometimes they exchange them too further confusing not only him but us too, whose who and whose saying what too :). Rat too gets his share of attention like falling in love, getting dumped in a plush apartment on top of a hill overlooking a beach with a 250cc bike to ride (he trashed his car in the earlier part). His rich parents call it seclusion so he will make something out of his life and what he does is what you’ve got to read the book for. Trust me, when I say this that almost 70% of the book I finished like that as the flow as always the case with his books is simply amazing but then I thought what about the title “Pinball”? Barring a whole one page dedicated to its invention and some information, it just gets tossed out of the book. But once the Pinball machine makes an entry, Phew! I cant even explain what happens.
What I love about Murakami is his terrific characters, I am sure you all have read one or the other works from him and will certainly agree. His characters can talk to anyone of anything and thats the magic, he so convincingly made me fall in love not only with the unnamed guy but also with the Pinball machine that I started thinking hard when did I play my own last game on a machine like that? Now whenever I will pass through a game zone in my life and come across a Pinball machine, I am sure it will look up-to me, might as well smile and talk to, who knows :). This is seriously insane and unbelievable. Yet, it did put a wide smile on my face and he makes the pact of me not reading a series stronger by ending it the way he ends it. So many questions unanswered and the book ends.
If you have read this, of-course tell me that you loved it as I cant accept that anyone can even dislike a book and amazing story like that. But if you haven’t read it yet, you bet you have no idea what you have missed. Go get the whole series and fall in love with a Pinball machine.
PS: Thomas Hardy has broken the Murakami spell and I am in love yet again with a guy called “Jude” now, if you know what I mean 😉