Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dance to the tune

I read this Japanese novel by Haruki Murakami, 'Dance dance dance' last day. It is supposed to be sequel to 'Wild sheep chase'. The novel portrays the surreal adventures of the protagonist, a nameless self employed copy writer. It deals in loss and abandonment of human relations.

Copywriter dreams regularly about the Dolphin hotel, which is a cheap dirty place where he had lived with a call girl lover Kiki, who is missing from then. He feels she is searching him, through dreams. He is 34, divorced, not a salary man, doing odd jobs (Shovelling cultural snow- in his words) and alone. He decides to go to the hotel, which is now turned in to a 26 storied huge establishment under new management. There he encounters Sheep Man who is responsible of connecting the things in his life (whatever tht means). Sheep Man advise him to continue dancing to the tunes.

On his search for his lost love he meets an array of queer characters, the hotel receptionist whom he falls for, a complex 13 year old kid who foresees problems, her confused parents, a movie actor who is typecasted as a docter or teacher, a one handed poet and a call girl who was a colleague of Kiki and who gets brutally murdered. Our hero dances to the tunes played to him and finally all secrets are bared.

The surrealism is quite subtle here, much toned down from Kafka. Kafkan influence can be seen when he is interrogated for murder of the call girl. He even says he was reading The Trial when officers come to his place.

What I liked about the book is the attitude of copy writer- staying put and waiting for things to happen in its own course which is what Sheep Man means by dancing to the tunes. I think novel is a parable on adapting to an advance technology. The protagonist is a man of 60s who goes through the advancement of capitalism in mid 70s, he views the change in attitude and takes his time to come in terms with it.

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