Murakami and Kafka

Tore off the shrink-wrap from my copy of The Elephant Vanishes: Stories by Haruki Murakami. Been wanting to do that for a long time.

There is something very Kafkaesque about the way Murakami writes, that refusal to acknowledge the fantastical as something that involves Todorov’s hesitation before belief in the uncanny, that breaking of the distinction between fantasy and reality. The fantastical is just as real as “reality,” if not part and parcel of reality, and so it’s written as if it’s real; it doesn’t draw attention to itself. It just ingratiates itself into the story. Murakami does this by making fantasy operate very domestically and in very small scale. It’s not so much weird lands or creatures or allegorical Characters With Capitalized Common Names For Names as it is the improbable juxtapositions of things and events from everyday lives. Which is a heck lot like surrealism anyway. I think this is what makes Murakami a little easier to swallow than Kafka.

Doesn’t make him less obscure, though.

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2 thoughts on “Murakami and Kafka

  1. When it comes to absurdity it is difficult to top Kafka. I always thought that there is a reason why Kafka did not finish his works. The “The Elephant Vanishes” is interesting though.

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