Monday, December 20, 2010

What I'm Reading: After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Several years ago I saw this amazing production of The Elephant Vanishes, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short short stories by the innovative and experimental theatre company, Theatre de Complicite. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to read this writer’s work and finally, I checked out some of his books at the library.

Unfortunately, they didn't have any of his short stories, so I grabbed two of his novels.

The first one I read was After Dark, and frankly, I was not as impressed as I’d like to be, especially since the librarian who checked out the book told me how amazing he was and how she’s read everything he’d ever written.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel Perhaps something is lost in the translation, or maybe this just isn't his best book.

 The story follows several characters in the course of an early evening in Tokyo, settings and locales ranging from an all night diner to a “love hotel” to an office. Characters ask each other a lot of questions and give a lot of exposition and somewhere Murakami sneaks in some post-modern critique of civilization (I think) which reminded me of Paul Auster’s work, only not as stimulating.

 I’ve now begun reading the other book I got, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and so far its slightly more interesting, but still not grabbing me by the shirt collars or anything.

Maybe Murakami just isn't my cup of tea.

I’ve also been reading the radio scripts of the BBC broadcasts of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This was part fun, part research for the radio scripts I’m writing right now. It’s exactly the kind of cynical and witty scenarios you’d expect from the series—and none of it really adds up to any logical sense. Just like life.

Next up are a few plays like Paula Vogel’s A Long Christmas Ride Home and Brecht’s Galileo, as well as my continued robot research and a biography of Descartes.

Nothing like some nice light reading 'round the old Christmas tree!

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