Thursday, October 1, 2015

#Twittreview Haruki Murakami's Hear The Wind Sing

Several days ago, I managed to finished one of two debut story from Haruki Murakami: Hear The Wind Sing. It was a fun experience, I tell you. And it goes like this...


An anonymous narrator - which also had a role as the protagonist of the story - along with his best friend, nicknamed Rat, enjoyed their long summer vacation, with smokes, beers, girls, books, and also JFK. It was some kind of flashback story, where the narrator recalled several important events on that particular summer, just before he went back to Tokyo, to continue his college.


*following were my tweets (in bahasa Indonesia) on #HearTheWindSing

1. Penulisannya unik: ada bagian seperti dairy excerpt, ada penggalan program radio, bahkan ada satu chapter yang rada "buang2 kertas." Hehe

2. In the end, considerint this was a debut for Murakami, it's a light fun stuff. And a promising one too. #HearTheWindSing

3. Kisah ini jauh lebih ringan dibandingkan cerita beliau yang lainnya; disini slash of lifenya lebih ngena. Dan gak ada unsur magica nya sih~

4. Dan unsur eroticanya cuma secuil~ sedih sih~ #HearTheWindSing

5. Sebagian org menganggap ini adalah cerita Murakami yg paling lemah. Yha memang. Lha wong debut. At least he knows where and how to started.

6. Anyhow, it's a fine story. Cukup sayang untuk dilewatkan. Consider bgaimana gaya penulisan beliau yg seperti saat ini dan dgn yg dulu...

7. Dannnnn.. Ini merupakan penampilan perdana dari Rat yg bakalan sampai ke The Wild Sheep Chase. The beginning of a trilogy.

8. With that bombshell, I may conclude that: Reading #HearTheWindSing was a fine pleasure. Not great. Just fine.

Okay. Some of you may not able to read my tweets above and yelled "what the hell is this?" Fine, I'll give you the summary.

In my honest opinion, and considering this was Murakami's debut in writing, it was a fun stuff. A light, easy to read, one. I may said it was "a promising one" because, if I became one of those people who read it for the first time, before he became a great one like this time, I might love it. It was not too heavy, it was entertaining, and it had some jokes too. And once again, considering this was his first debut, he might be still kind of "soul searching", in a journey on his perfect writing style, his own trademark. In this story, you might found his several earlier-trademark: a silent and good listener protagonist, chatterbox companion, flashbacks, and an appearance of wicked protagonist's lover (well, at least the prototype of protagonist's lover).

This story has no magical or surreal world on it, or even there was no waaaaayyyy to wicked character: he kept it rational and real this time. And because of that, some readers who already read it, said that this was his weakest. But I don't think so. This is his foundation, his first step. Without this, he might be no one, just a guy who strove for his life by clinging to his jazz cafe. He might be known as Murakami the Barista. Not Murakami the Writer.

Sorry. I got emotional back then.

Anyhow, just a trivia, this was the first appearance of Rat. He had roles on next two full novel made by Murakami: Pinball, 1973 and The Wild Sheep Chase. It was a trilogy. I've read Wild Sheep once, and it was great. But back then I just don't know who Rat was and thought that he was just a character without backgrounds.

As a conclusion, it was a great book and will provide you a decent experience; reading the first piece that not too great but became a foundation and start line for a man who wrote fantastic and surreal pieces. It was too bad to be missed. Even you didn't like it, saved it or store it on the bookshelf. For just a reminder, that anybody could be a writer, how bad their first writing was.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When The Wind-Up Bird Goes Creek: Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle's Review

When life gave you lemons, made lemonade.

That's what it supposed to be, but not in this tale. Murakami was kind of twist it a little; made the main protagonist went into a self discovery journey to subconscious and surreal world in order to answer the question: what will you do if live gives you lemons?

Toru Okada is a jobless man who lived happily with his wife and their cat in a house. Not to covered in blinks, but pretty decent one. In order to fulfill their daily life, his wife, Kumiko, became the one who works from day to night, meeting clients and stuff. While Toru took care the house, do the laundry, feed the cat, and cook some spaghetti or other food. It all a good life, according to him, until the their cat, Noboru Wataya, gone.

Since then, his life became different: his wife gone without a trace and leave him; he met and get acquainted with a young girl who works as a surveyor of bald head; a random "booty" phone call from a lady he didn't know who and why; a war veteran that unable to die; and the last was a mother and son who gave him a job. And in between, he must find his wife and asked her the reason, and also he must find their cat.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a novel written by Haruki Murakami, originally published in 1994-1995. The one I had was the republished one from 2003.

I must say, this is a long story. It felt like, I was reading it through a long and winding road; it surely a time consuming until I reach the fun part, and after I passed that, it moved like a Jags on a smooth road. It may thinner than 1Q84 and not weird and surreal like any of his works, but frankly it way less entertaining from any of his works - at least until the mid part of the book. He took it slowly, building up mysteries and backgrounds that may affect his protagonist's future. Just like May Kasahara, a young lady who lived in a house nearby, which became closed to Toru Okada and became one of influential character later in the story. Or two sisters of Kano, Malta and Creta, which a kind of investigator (at first) in order to find their cat, and later in order to find Kumiko. Or maybe like Noboru Wataya (yes, it bear the same name with the cat), Kumiko's brother who doesn't like Toru at all (it even effect Toru's subconscious realm, gosh~). Some character was introduced briefly but had a significant role and part in the story, like Let. Mamiya, a war veteran, who had two full chapters for his story in the battle on Nomohan and several pages for his letter to Toru, talking (once again) about his life after the war; or Ushikawa, a chatterbox which had a role as Noboru's representative to Toru. He surely an annoying character.

For those who had read Murakami's work before, they may recognized his trademark: surreal worlds, weird and misfits characters, long, trivial dialogues, and sometimes articles excerpt from newspapers and/or tv (fictionized, of course~). In this story, you'll met it, after a long pages of chapters (in the original Japanese one, it may cost a book and a half!), dialogues and narrations. Well, of course the trivial dialogues and those unusual characters were served since the beginning, but the alternate world and such, it came on the middle, or a about the mid of second book. And does it worth of wait? Yup.

Mr. Murakami may prolonged the opening and the build-ups, but I guess it worth to wait. Maybe it wasn't as surreal as he wrote Kafka or 1Q, but it was so him, that was his trademark. An ordinary guy who able to moved from ordinary world to another world which an absolute different and weirder. And the guy, the main protagonist considered it as something usual, something that any ordinary people will experienced. Toru found almost everything he wanted to know and seek in that alternate world. And like any other surrealist world-involved story, the last battle was always happened there, on the world of mishap itself. Yup, that's a spoiler.

In a nutshell, I loved this book. But not as I loved Kafka or even Wild Sheep. This one is a great one, but not the one I will loved. Regardless how I recognized Toru and I was almost the same person, both in principal and feelings - those kind of losing and a hope of being founded - it still haven't strike me right at the heart. It was too long, too tiring. I even had a slight thought about abandon this book. Because it kept repeating inside my head "when this books end? when this books end?"

I'm not recommend it for those who in their first time reading Murakami's work. A big no-no. Maybe it would appropriate to those who had a huge patience, reading through the pages and chapters. Reading Let. Mamiya's endless stories. And so on. Believe me, I'm not the patient one.

In the end, this review wanted to highlight that not every famous author made a perfect writing all the time. I loved Murakami's works, I do. But this is an evidence that not all of his writing were able to satisfy all his fans. They are humans too.

Oh, and about Toru Okada, he finally found the way he wanted to with the lemons.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2015 Locus Award Finalist

Before the rundowns, Locus Awards are an annual set of literary award by the science fiction and fantasy focused magazine, Locus. The award winner are selected by poll of magazine reader. The awards already inaugurated in 1971 for publication year 1970. It's original purpose was to influence the Hugo Awards.

So, here are the 2015 Locus Award Finalist:

Science Fiction Novel
The Peripheral by William Gibson
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
Lock In by John Scalzi
Annihilation/Authority/Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Fantasy Novel
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Young Adult Book
Half A King by Joe Abercrombie
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Empress of the Sun by Ian McDonald
Clariel by Garth Nix

First Novel
Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias
The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
The Emperor's Blade by Brian Staveley

The Man Who Sold The Moon by Cory Doctorow
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress
The Regular by Ken Liu
The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss

Tough Time All Over by Joe Abercrombie
The Hand Is Quicker by Elizabeth Bear
Memorials by Aliette de Bodard
The Jar of Water by Ursula K. Le Guin
A Year and A Day in Old Theradane by Scott Lynch

Short Story
Covenant by Elizabeth Bear
The Dust Queen by Aliette de Bodard
The Truth About Owls by Amal El-Mohtar
In Babelsberg by Alastair Reynolds
Ogres of East Africa by Sofia Samatar

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015's Resolution and A Start of New Blog

2015's First Blood: Haruki Murakami's The Strange Library and After Dark, Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey
I started 2015 by challenge myself to read 15 books in total this year. I know it was shallow, but better shallow than unrealistic. So that mean I have less than a year to finished them all. Earlier this month, I bought Haruki Murakami's After Dark and The Strange Library, and also Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both Murakami's books already rested on the bookshelf and it only takes a full two weeks to finish it. Soon I'll make the review of those books, as good as I can, as short it can be, as informative as it can be. While for Arthur's book, I guess I'll keep it untouched for a moment now; because I believe to read it, it need some consistency and concentration. Reading sci-fi, in my honest opinion, is like studying; you need an extreme concentration and there is high probability that even after you finished it, you didn't understand the story, or missing some keypoints or always wondered "what the reason of this? what the reason of that?" thingies. So, yeah, that's the reason why I put aside this Odyssey and continue to read some light books I bought earlier.