Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MURAKAMI | Feeling the Voice and the Music in Murakami

I'm reading Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It has the Murakami signature "voice". I think about it, and his books are often a little depressing, quiet and understated - but I love the "voice". I once told a friend about how it feels reading a Murakami novel - it's like I'm sitting at a table, in a jazz bar. There's only him, and me, at the table. There's cigarette smoke in the air, and a couple of beer between us. Then he starts telling me a story, quietly, and I'm just there, listening. Just him and me.

I'm back on the groove and ease reading his most recent book. I like how he always ties in his other passions into his books, most of all music - which might be how he achieves the "voice" in his novels. If it doesn't "sound" right, it's not right. It's about the melody, the "feel" of the voice, rather than the plot that matters. In a way, he's writing a melody as a book.

I had this conversation with a friend a while back. She pays attention to the lyrics of the songs, while I tend to pay more attend to the melody and I often forget the lyrics. It's an odd thing, considering how I am a reader - yet I do not read the lyrics much. I tap into the rhythm, the melody, the sound and the mood of music. Just like how I tap into the "voice" in Murakami's novels and not the story as much, considering how I am a story person.

It is fascinating to think about how Murakami taps into music and channels them creatively into his writing. Perhaps he channels his writing into his running as well. I'm not the only one curious about it, as this Murakami Literary Playlist show.

For now, the playlist for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is Liszt:

As they listened to one piano recording, Tsukuru realized that he'd heard the composition many times in the past. He didn't know the title, however, or the composer. It was a quiet, sorrowful piece that began with a slow, memorable theme that played out as single notes, then proceeded into a series of tranquil variations. Tsukuru looked up from the book he was reading and asked Haida what it was.
'"Franz Liszt's 'La mal du pays.' It's from his Years of Pilgrimage Suite 'Year One: Switzerland.'"
"'La mal du…'?"
"'La map du pays.' It's French. Usually it's translated as 'homesickness,' or 'melancholy.' If you put a finer point on it, it's more like 'a groundless sadness called forth in a person's heart by a pastoral landscape.' It's a hard expression to translate accurately." 
A song on pilgrimage. I get that.
My copy of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
Might add more stickers to the cover as I progress with the story.