Haruki Murakami | Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

by - February 20, 2015


Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman 
by Haruki Murakami


The 25-year-old narrator returns to his hometown after a five-year absence. He accompanies his 14-year-old cousin to the hospital. The cousin's right ear is damaged, and his hearing is ruined. Although previous treatments have been unsuccessful, a new ear specialist is going to perform a procedure on the boy's ear.

The narrator recalls another trip he took to a hospital eight years earlier. At that time, he and a high school friend visited a girl who was having an operation on her rib. The girl had composed a poem based on a dream she had. She told the story to her two visitors and illustrated it by drawing a picture on a napkin. Her tale involved miniscule flies that crept into a woman's ear causing her to fall asleep. While she slept, the insects eventually devoured her flesh. A man attempted to awake (and save) her, but it was too late. The narrator remembers that his high school friend died not long afterwards.

The cousin's appointment with the ear doctor ends with a sack of medication and little likelihood that the day's treatment will restore his hearing. The narrator and his cousin eat in the hospital cafeteria. The boy asks the narrator to gaze inside his ears, and the narrator marvels at the structure and mystery of the human ear. He decides his cousin's ear appears normal. Soon, the narrator's mind once again drifts back to a summer eight years ago and memories of his lost friend.



FIRST FEW LINES:
When I closed my eyes, the scent of the wind wafted up toward me. A May wind, swelling up like a piece of fruit, with a rough outer skin, slimy flesh, dozens of seeds like gentle buckshot into the bare skin of my arms, leaving behind a faint trace of pain.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK:
To be honest, Haruki Murakami was not an easy read for me. When I first read his books, I found it hard to follow through the stories. It was only until now when I read Blind Willow, Sleeping woman that I understood, and appreciated his kind of writing. I am hooked! I love Murakami’s characters and their loneliness, the silent suffering they go through and the fact that you are never really sure whether they are daydreaming, dreaming, having superpowers or are just being highly sensitive. The story reads like a daydream. A fairy tale of sorts that is built into the narrative. What little action takes place occurs in one of three settings: a bus, the hospital cafeteria, and especially the narrator's memory. Recollection can offer comfort but can also create pain. The distinction between recall and illusion is sometimes blurry, and it takes you to that place on being in one of the thoughts of the character. Reminiscence has the power to preserve the past as well as connect us to the present as it takes us back and forth it same as the character.

BOOK DETAILS:
Original Title: めくらやなぎと、眠る女 [Mekurayanagi to, nemuru onna]
ISBN 1400044618 (ISBN13: 9781400044610)
Book Pages: 352


lisa marie

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