Sometimes the wind blows pretty hard.

Miss Saeki looks at me for a while, and the smile fades away. "Picture a bird perched on a thin branch," she says, "The branch sways in the wind, and each time this happens the bird's field of vision shifts. You know what I mean?"

I nod.

"When that happens, how do you think the bird adjusts?"

I shake my head. "I don't know."

"It bobs its head up and down, making up for the sway of the branch. Take a good look at birds the next time it's windy. I spend a lot of time looking out that window. Don't you think that kind of life would be tiring? Always shifting your head every time the branch you're on sways?"

"I do."

"Birds are used to it. It comes naturally to them. They don't have to think about it, they just do it. So it's not as tiring as we imagine. But I'm a human being, not a bird, so sometimes it does get tiring."

"You're on a branch somewhere?"

"In a manner of speaking," she says. "And sometimes the wind blows pretty hard."

-- Kafka on the Shore, Murakami


Tuttle said...

Funny you mentioned this the other day. I finished reading this book on Thursday. I described it as an itchy race to see how Nakata and Kafka converge.

However, I found the conclusion excessively metaphorical/mystical. That being said, for the most part, this book held me in the palm of its hand. I was particularly taken by this passage and by Hoshino's epiphany about his life.

alan said...

Do you have a suggestion for a first read of Murakami

I'm no Picasso said...

I'm not finished yet, but getting close. Haven't had enough time to read this past week.

The thing about Murakami is that he always dances along the border of what I find acceptable as far as surrealism goes. But somehow he pulls it off. I just got to the Colonel Sanders part and at first, I was like, really Murakami? Colonel Sanders? But a couple of sections in and I'm not even questioning it anymore....

Alan -- That's a really hard question. I feel like if I knew you better, I could make a recommendation. I started with Norwegian Wood, if that helps at all. People say it's his most narrative, "normal" work, but if you're not afraid of starting with the harder stuff, this one isn't a bad place to start and neither is Dance, Dance, Dance.