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Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Murakami is always news, an article by Bryan Walsh for Time magazine implies. Because this feature says nothing hard-core Murakami fans don't already know. Or almost nothing. A single reference to a "212-hour conversation" makes all the difference.

Was the conversation with Walsh? We don't know. To write a 1300-word feature that's replete with truisms and disconnected quotes from 'reliable' sources seems a bit unnecessary. Walsh notes the author's "bushy eyebrows bobbing" and segues from this into Murakami's dislike of the recently-reelected mayor of Tokyo. Yes, Bryan, some older Japanese have odd-looking eyebrows, but it doesn't make them into sages.

Which is what he has become for liberal Westerners, a category that includes practically every journalist in these countries. So the contest between the writer and the politician becomes an "enlightened cause". As if Ishihara cared at all what Murakami thinks.

"Before, I wanted to be an expatriate writer," he admits. "But I am a Japanese writer. This is my soil and these are my roots. You cannot get away from your country."

And then there's the teaser I've mentioned before on this blog. Murakami "hints" that the next book will address the issues he's been so vocal about in the recent past. Having noted the eyebrows, you'd think Walsh could do better than that. Surely with an extra 500 words the feature would still make it into the mag?

I skimmed this piece, looking for something novel, and was thoroughly disappointed. A marathon interview must surely require more exposure than this? Is Walsh planning to publish the whole thing? Nothing else will pacify my appetite for Murakami's words, liberal as I am.

Thanks to Ed for the heads-up.

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