Troy Cupchix Cupchix itibaren Samne, Peru
Bir gün bu kitabı bitirmeyi umuyorum. belki de cehenneme gittiğim kitapları içeren başka bir liste oluşturmalıyım.
Okumaktan zevk aldığım en güzel kitaplardan biri. Hiç.
1968, Londra. Cinsel özgürlüğün yüksekliği. Orda olma eşiğinde genç bir adam olan Nicholas Darrow, kendi cinsiyeti ve hasta babasının kiliseye girme yüzündeki ölümü ile mücadele ediyor. Dikkat dağıtıcı bir şey olarak, eski bir arkadaşın ortadan kaybolması ve ölümüne takıntılı hale gelir. Arkadaşının karanlık yaşamını giderek daha fazla araştırırken, önünde korkunç bir dünya açılır ...
Bu kitabın yayınlanması konusunda hem heyecanlı hem de üzgünüm. Bu harika karakterlerin veya JKR'nin eğlendirdiği fantastik hikayenin bir sonu olduğunu hayal edemiyorum. Bu diziyi okumak istemeyenler için bir sıçrama yapın ve KEYFİNİ ÇIKARIN!
I feel like this book had a sweet spot. Beyond the Zero was a bit of a chore, but after you got through that first section, the narration really took shape and the characters sort of fell in to place. Pynchon's prose are really beautiful and deserve the hype they receive. It sort of petered off at the end.. then again, maybe it was just me losing interest.
A Companion Intervenes I re-read “South of the Border” immediately after re-reading “Norwegian Wood”, as part of my training regime for Murakami’s “1Q84”. Although they were written five years apart and were separated by “Dance Dance Dance”, they are good companion pieces. They stand out from Murakami’s other novels because they explore love and its consequences almost exclusively. Although some things and events go unexplained, there is little of the surrealism and absurdity that characterizes most of his other works. Strangely, whereas “Norwegian Wood” concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about relationships in his late teens, “South of the Border” concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about a relationship that originally started and finished before he turned 13, so he was not yet a teenager. While the protagonist in “Norwegian Wood” seemed to get his girl (or one of them) at the end, there was some doubt in my mind whether the relationship had lasted until the time of narration. In “South of the Border”, the intervening period has brought the protagonist, Hajime, a permanent relationship, marriage, parenthood and business and financial success. However, his apparent contentment and happiness is jeopardized by the intervention of Shimamoto, his girlfriend from the age of 12. The Bond of Only-ness The first quarter of the novel is a relatively straightforward narration of Hajime’s first 30 years. He is born in January, 1951 (which makes him almost exactly two years younger than Murakami himself). He is an only child, as is Shimamoto. He detests the term “only child”, because it implies he is “missing” something, as if he is an incomplete human being, yet somehow spoiled, weak and self-centred as well. Hajime is not just interested in Shimamoto because neither of them has any siblings, he’s fascinated by the fact that her left leg is slightly lame, yet she "never whines or complains". Nobody else at school finds her as striking or charming as him, even though he recognizes that she has not yet developed an outer “gorgeousness” to match her inner qualities. So while they develop a deep relationship, she wraps herself in a protective shell that separates her from other students. Unfortunately, the relationship comes to an end the year after when they go to different junior high schools. Relatively Unfaithful Hajime gets on with life, even getting another girlfriend, Izumi, who he thinks is cute, even if she isn’t conventionally pretty. She is the oldest of three children, though still sensitive enough at 16 to be able to say, “I’m scared. These days I feel like a snail without a shell.” Yet as much as she tries her best to give Hajime all she can, she is destined to make him realize his capacity for hurt: ”...I didn’t understand then...that I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.” Just after Hajime’s 18th birthday, he is preparing to start four years of college in Tokyo, which effectively spells the end of the relationship. However, it ends on even worse terms, when Izumi discovers that he has been having a passionate affair with her cousin, while she has been deferring a sexual relationship with him. At 37, he learns that his betrayal permanently damaged her, so much so that she lives a life of isolation in an apartment block where all of the children are afraid of her. He has ruined her life. So ultimately the novel is concerned with the hurt we cause in the pursuit of our own needs and illusions. A Lame Excuse for Stalking Despite his capacity for hurt, Hajime has a sympathy for outsiders, non-conformists who don’t quite fit in. It reveals itself in his attraction to women who are lame, of whom there are several in the novel. Just before he meets his future wife, Yukiko, when he is 28, he sees an elegant woman limping in the street. He follows her for some time, wondering whether it is Shimamoto, until she enters a café, from where she phones someone for support. The man who comes to her aid demands that he leave her alone and gives him an envelope with a large amount of money in it. Meanwhile, the woman makes her escape in a cab, ramping up the mystery about her identity. He can’t believe his luck. Why did this happen? Did it really happen at all? What does it all mean? If not for the envelope, proof that something must have happened, it would have continued to be a riddle, “a delusion from start to finish, a fantasy I’d cooked up in my head, ... a very long, realistic dream that somehow I’d mixed up with reality”. For Hajime, as long as he has the envelope, it means that this whole event actually occurred, that his quest was real and not an illusion. Everything Falls Into Place At 30, Hajime marries Yukiko, after which they have two daughters and he establishes two jazz bars (one of which is called the “Robin’s Nest” and the other we know only as “my other bar”) at the prompting of his father-in-law. Up to this point, Hajime has been relatively faithful, apart from "a few flings when Yukiko was pregnant", relationships that he seems to excuse in the same manner that his father-in-law justifies his own affairs (they allow him to let off steam and actually reinforce the primacy of marriage). So much, so normal. He seems to have developed a knack for stopping just short of being self-destructive. Until one day his success results in some magazine coverage that reunites him with old school friends who trigger a sense of nostalgia for his past relationships. And with this nostalgia comes Shimamoto. Hollow Inside Enough of the plot, I want to explore some of the metaphors. To all intents and purposes, Hajime has been happy in his marriage: ”I could not imagine a happier life.” However, the emergence of Shimamoto makes him realize that he has been harbouring feelings about his past with her: ”Everything disappears some day. Like this bar...Things that have form will all disappear. But certain feelings stay with us forever.” To which Shimamoto responds: ”But you know, Hajime, some feelings cause us pain because they remain.” To this extent, she has a better insight into Hajime than he does himself. Holding onto the past can create a darkness inside us that is destined to hurt not just ourselves, but those around us. By the end of the chapter, he is looking into the mirror, confronting the fact that he has become a liar, that there is something dark inside him: ”For the first time in a long while, I looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror. Those eyes told me nothing about who I was.” It’s an existential crisis of sorts, he is on the boundary of sanity and madness: ”If I never see her again, I will go insane. Once she got out of the car and was gone, my world was suddenly hollow and meaningless.” To the extent that Shimamoto is a twin of himself who completes the one person, she has gone missing and he is once again incomplete. Missing Persons, Minding the Gap So what to do about his hollowness and yearning? Hajime falls in love with the idea that he and Shimamoto were “star-crossed lovers” who were simply born under a bad sign, whose love originally perished under an unlucky star, but can be revived: ”You could say I’m happy. Yet I’ve known ever since I met you again that something is missing. The important question is what is missing. Something’s lacking. In me and my life. And that part of me is always hungry, always thirsting. Neither my wife nor my children can fill that gap. In the whole world, there’s only one person who can do that. You.” He wants to overcome his hollowness by filling in the 25 year gap since they last saw each other: ”‘It’s strange,’ she said, ‘You want to fill in that blank space of time, but I want to keep it all blank.’” As Hajime swings between sanity and insanity, Shimamoto disappears and reappears. Indeed, the reverse is also true: as Shimamoto disappears and reappears, Hajime swings between sanity and insanity. She is both the focus of his sanity and the cause of his insanity. She keeps his hopes alive with the promise that they will “probably” see each other in “a while”. Gradually, he realizes he has to do something about it, he has to account to his wife, Yukiko. Only it doesn’t come easily: ”I was struck by a violent desire to confess everything. What a relief that would be! No more hiding, no more need to playact or to lie...But I didn’t say anything. Confession would serve no purpose. It would only make us miserable.” So the fear of misery justifies the continued deceit. South of the Border, West of the Sun The title of the novel is a lyric from a song played by Nat King Cole. Both Hajime and Shimamoto had romanticized what might lie “south of the border”. She thinks it is “something beautiful, big and soft”, only to discover when she grows up that all it refers to is Mexico. So they realize that all of their romanticism is misplaced, it’s a fabrication. Similarly, “west of the sun” describes a medical condition called “hysteria syberiana”, which affects farmers in Siberia. After months of exposure to the harsh winter, they sometimes head off in search of some land west of the sun: “Like someone possessed, you walk on, day after day, not eating or drinking, until you collapse on the ground and die.” They succumb to their illusions and eventually die, because they fail to take care of reality. So eventually Hajime realizes that Shimamoto is a distraction, perhaps even an illusion, that he must turn away from: ”I would never see her again, except in memory. She was here and now she’s gone. There is no middle ground. ‘Probably’ is a word you may find south of the border. But never, ever, west of the sun.” At the same time, he realizes that the envelope has gone: ”I should have thrown that money away when I first got it. Keeping it was a mistake.” To quote Shimamoto, “some feelings cause us pain because they remain.” The envelope had to go, just as his feelings for her had to go. Though there is a lingering doubt as to whether the envelope was ever real. So ultimately we are forced to question whether the return of Shimamoto actually occurred or whether it was a fabrication of a mind that had gone lame. Did Hajime’s self-delusion, his existential crisis, develop into a full on nervous breakdown, his own version of hysteria syberiana? Did he just make it all up? Was it just "a very long, realistic dream that somehow I’d mixed up with reality”? Rain in the Desert, Rain on the Sea Murakami also uses the metaphor of a desert which appears to be lifeless until it rains, when the dormant life revives and blossoms. Hajime’s obsession with a relationship from the past transforms his marriage into a desert. The darkness of his self-delusion sucks all of the life out of the reality of his relationship and his parenthood. Yet Hajime can’t sort it out from within his delusion. So, in a way, Yukiko wins back their marriage with almost superhuman patience and insight and persistence. She has to rain on the desert of their relationship. Yet her effort isn’t so much superhuman as quintessentially human. She reveals that she too has had needs and gaps that she wanted to fill, that Hajime has ignored her needs and vulnerability, that he has been selfish to think he is the only one to have suffered from a hollowness. Throughout the novel, the presence of Shimamoto is associated with rain or water, like some noir pulp fiction. However, just as rain forces us inside to keep dry, it is also a source of water that revives life. “South of the Border” finishes with Hajime contemplating a sea with rain falling on it. Murakami is typically ambiguous. There might be a sense in which rain on the ocean cannot revive dormant life, that the sea remains lifeless or unaffected beneath the surface, that it simply can’t see that it is being replenished. However, the ocean might also be a sea of possibilities, it is full of life and Hajime simply has to make a choice so that the rain can make a difference. While Hajime contemplates all this, Yukiko comes and rests a hand lightly on his shoulder. We get the sense that the two of them have together made a choice, that the “new life beginning tomorrow” that they have promised each other might just happen. So whether or not the reappearance of Shimamoto was real or an illusion, she was the trigger for Hajime to realize that his marriage was the real thing and that he didn’t need to seek something else “South of the Border, West of the Sun”. It’s a lesson both to be with the one you love, and to love the one you’re with, because they are usually, and should be, the same person.