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Doug said that once he understood he needed to accept the book as absurdist, he began to really enjoy its off-the-wall turns, its humour and, like me, its memorable evocation of the spirit of situations and things, landscape and the weather. By the end of our journey with this chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking narrator prone to bouts of philosophising which end with banalities 'I came to the realisation The book is indeed about inconsequentiality, and the strange paradox that the seemingly inconsequential things, or the episodes which on the rational level are no longer relevant, are nevertheless evocative and important on the level of emotional experience , while the importance of those things which seem significant in the grand, Western-hero quest tradition, is unstable.

Thus the girlfriend with the ears, who seemed so central to the endeavour, turns out to be not so important to the plot after all. Evidence too the absurd way, which had made everyone laugh, that the narrator gets the sinister figure who sends him on his quest to look after his ailing, farting cat while he is gone. The narrator has never named this cat, and during his narration never names any of the other characters: as Clare said, names fix things artificially and thus deny the truth that importance is relative, and reality fluid.

Several people, even Doug, thought that the ending, which I won't give away, was disappointing, but to me it endorsed this view of the book and was therefore fitting. Then people got interested in the different covers of the book in the different editions we had and agreed that the one above the latest Vintage paperback was best. A general conversation started up about covers, and I asked everyone to help me think about ideas I might suggest for the cover of my forthcoming book , which isn't decided on yet.

Our archived discussions can be found here , and a list of all the books we have discussed here. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe in a reader. Popular Posts. Reading group: Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker. Murakami a, — What is most striking in this interaction is that when one of these characters assumes a different voice or performance, the other party shifts accordingly.

The Protagonist uses this particular voice very infrequently, and only when prompted in contexts similar to this one. Subsequently, we see the Protagonist abandon the voice of the businessman and shift into that of a hard-boiled journalist, claiming the right to protect his sources. This voice is very different from the salaryman he performs earlier in that he is uncooperative, and appears to call upon higher values compared to the cynical dishonesty of the business world he seemed to accept in his conversation with the Business Partner earlier in the text.

In his response, the Black-suited Secretary challenges this change in performance, questioning its validity and thus whether the Protagonist can assume this voice. When it becomes apparent that the Protagonist is not going to revert to being the businessman, the Black-suited Secretary switches to his threatening underworld voice.

Therefore, the manner in which the audience receives the performance of masculinity is vital to its success as there is a genuine risk of rejection. This view puts the power of acceptance in the hands of the listener and highlights the interactivity inherent to gender performances; however, it also puts a certain onus on the listener to understand and keep pace with the performance with which they are being addressed. In changing his performance in such a drastic manner, the Protagonist runs the risk of being rejected, and indeed the Black-suited Secretary attempts to do just that.

However, when the Protagonist does not abandon this voice when prompted, the Black-suited Secretary adjusts his own performance, assuming a voice that counters this change, performing the kind of masculinity that would openly threaten a journalist. This shift in the conversation toward discussing the possibility of torture could also be seen as a reference to masculine ideals, with both characters making claims to physical and mental strength. The Protagonist can be seen as following the script instinctively, suggesting his awareness of the performative nature of this interaction.


The conversation between the Protagonist and the Black-suited Secretary demonstrates the potential to address even brief interactions as performances of a heteroglossia of masculinities. While the Black-suited Secretary does not fit the corporate warrior model, he presents a reasonably monoglossic masculinity that features a number of salaryman traits. However, what makes him challenging, especially for the unsuspecting Business Partner, is the presence of other powerful voices—particularly that of the dangerous, underworld enforcer for a right-wing conglomerate. He can speak of business affairs in the appropriate manner, but also shift into performing a hard-boiled journalist protecting his sources.

These are not inconsistencies or poor characterisations on the part of the author, but rather the presence of a heteroglossia of voices being adapted and abandoned by the characters in response to the demands of the situation within the reality of the novel. There is one more brief appearance of the Black-suited Secretary.

Near the end of the novel the Protagonist resolves the mystery in the mountains of Hokkaido. With his somewhat unsatisfying solution, the Protagonist travels alone back down the mountain, meeting the Black-suited Secretary along the way. Here, it is confirmed, as the Protagonist had come to suspect, that the Black-suited Secretary had known where Nezumi was all along but had tried to use the Protagonist to draw him out of hiding.

To begin their conversation, the Black-suited Secretary notes that he was only waiting for a short time for the Protagonist to come down the mountain, intimating his use of some form of psychic power:. Sixth sense. Constructing the program was the hard part. So much for handiwork.

Misplaced gloating aside, the Black-suited Secretary does not realise that Nezumi has in fact killed himself, thus destroying the sheep that was possessing him. As with his previous appearances, the Black-suited Secretary positions himself as powerful and authoritative. Here, however, he assumes two quite different voices to do so—that of a psychic and a computer engineer.

The first emphasises intuition, an aspect of himself that is inherent and vital, through which he has access to a realm beyond the understanding of the Protagonist. He is claiming the ability to calculate and construct the quest, engineering a desired outcome in the face of human unpredictability.

Therefore, although neither of these voices fit completely in the salaryman masculinity markers as previously discussed being a psychic and grand manipulator , they still claim superiority within the mainstream masculine discourse of perseverance and mental strength. Due to his rather salaryman-like hard work and planning the Black-suited Secretary believes that he has won; but unlike their previous encounters, here he is neither the dangerous enforcer nor the reasonable businessman.

Likewise, on the mountain in Hokkaido the Black-suited Secretary has also lost his signature outfit: he is now wrapped in a beige jacket and ski pants. Through an examination of the conversations between this set of characters in A Wild Sheep Chase we can see a range of masculine voices being engaged. In the case of the Black-suited Secretary, these voices can help to control interactions and prompt useful responses. Meanwhile, the Protagonist also assumes and discards a range of performances, but he has no insidious intent, demonstrating instead an ability to readily shift performances as needed.

Regardless of how each of these characters copes with the contemporary fictional Japan they inhabit, what can be seen consistently is the performance of more than one masculinity. Yet none of these performances are necessarily a departure from the social ideals surrounding masculinity in Japan, or the importance of the salaryman. Even when these characters show evidence of heteroglossic masculinities, they do not necessarily challenge hegemonic masculinity and the gender order it sustains—their complicity remains in place.

This paper deals with constructed characters within a fictional world, therefore the potential parallels between their performances and masculinity in the real world need to be treated with caution. Likewise, the masculinities presented by these characters demonstrate that there is still space within masculinity studies to engage further with ideas of plurality and heteroglossia.

Moreover, as suggested in the work of Francis and the variety of masculine performances identified in A Wild Sheep Chase , neither is heteroglossia necessarily special or exceptional; rather, it is quite ordinary or even commonplace. Aboim, S. Farnham: Ashgate. Allison, A. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Bakhtin, M. Edited by M. Holquist, translated by C. Emerson and M. Austin: University of Texas Press. Beasley, C. Benhammou, D.

A Wild Sheep Chase Character Descriptions for Teachers

Clark, L. Accessed 15 July, Connell, R. M a sculinities. Copeland, R, ed. Copeland, R. Ramirez-Christensen, eds. Darling-Wolf, F. Dasgupta, R. Louie and M. Low, — London: Routledge Curzon. Re-reading the Salaryman in Japan: Crafting Masculinities. New York: Routledge. Dil, J. Duus, P. Bestor, and T. Bestor, with A. Yamagata, 13— London and New York: Routledge. Flutsch, M. Aoyama and B. Hartley, — Francis, B. Gardiner, J. Gardiner, 1— New York: Columbia University Press. Gee, J. Gill, T. Roberson and N.

Suzuki, — Hansen, G. Hidaka, T. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Hirata, H. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Centre. Hong, T. Ishihara, C. Alone on the train ride back home, Tengo sees a little girl and her mother, and remembers a girl from his own childhood, who belonged to a very traditional Christian sect called the Witnesses, which forbade surgery and other medical practices.

He would see the girl and her mother around town trying to convert people while at the same time he was with his father bill-collecting. The girl was made fun of in fourth grade and one day when it was particularly bad, Tengo came to her defense. The girl I wonder who it could be? Tengo agrees.

He also thinks back on his love as mathematics as a child — to him, math was freeing and consistent and infinite. But over time, that love of numbers evolved into a love of words and novels. Tengo also reflects on his love of music and his own musical talent. Komatsu tells Tengo it is now his mob to prepare Fuka-Eri for the press conference, after which her public appearances will be few and far between.

And, not surprisingly, she is neither happy nor unhappy about the prize. He gives her some sample press questions, and she answers them instantly and deliberately. He emphasizes to her that she needs to be clear that she wrote the story without any help. She agrees. The whole passage regarding Aomame and kicking guys in the balls was rather extraordinary — more on this further down. It strikes me that Aomame is all physical — her body, her muscles, sex for her body, etc. Tengo is all mental and emotional.

In her eyes, he saw a strange light, a kind of appeal or plea directed at him. It was only a faint, momentary gleam, but Tengo was able to catch it. He was ten centimeters taller, so she had to look up. Taken by surprise, Tengo looked back at her. Their eyes met.

Having a man hold her and gaze at her naked body and caress her and lick her and bite her and penetrate and her and give her orgasms had helped release the tension of the spring wound up inside her. True, the hangover felt terrible, but that feeling of release more than made up for it. Aomame confessing to the Dowager that she is in love with someone. Your readers have seen the sky with one moon in it any number of time, right? When you introduce things that most readers have never seen before into a piece of fiction, you have to describe them with as much precision and in as much detail as possible.

What you can eliminate from fiction is the description of things that most readers have seen. He remained free as long as he actively explored that realm of infinite consistency. When mathematics stretched infinitely toward the heavens, the forest spread out beneath his gaze in silence, its dark sturdy roots stretching deep into the earth.

In the forest, there were no maps, no numbered doorways. She never compromised on the quality of her groceries, and drank only good-quality wines. On those rare occasions when she ate out, she would choose restaurants that prepared their food with the greatest care. Almost nothing else mattered to her — not clothing, not cosmetics, not accessories.

Jeans and a sweater were all she needed for commuting to the sports club, and once she was there she would spend the day in a jersey top and bottom — without accessories. Her childhood. I am quite aware that your actions have been prompted by your pure feelings, and I understand perfectly well that, for that very reason, you do not wish to receive money for what you have done. But pure, unadulterated feelings are dangerous in their own way. It is no easy feat for a flesh-and-blood human being to go on living with such feelings. That is why it is necessary for you to fasten your feelings to the earth — firmly, like attaching an anchor to a balloon.

The money is for that. They were floating there side by side. The large one was the usual moon that she had always seen. It was nearly full, and yellow. But there was another moon right next to it. It had an unfamiliar shape. It was somewhat lopsided, and greenish, as though thinly covered with moss. That was what her vision had seized upon. So mathematical. His mother had taken off her blouse and dropped the shoulder straps of her white slip to let a man who was not his father suck on her breasts.

The infant in the crib nearby was probably Tengo himself. He was observing the scene as a third person…The infant was asleep, its eyes closed, its little breaths deep and regular…This vivid ten-second image would…envelop him like a soundless tsunami. By the time he noticed, it would be directly in front of him, and his arms and legs would be paralyzed. The flow of time stopped. The air grew thin, and he had trouble breathing. He lost all connection with the people and things around him. And though it felt to him as if the world were being closed off in darkness, he experienced no loss of awareness.

It was just a sense of having been switched to a new track. Parts of his mind were, if anything, sharpened by the change. He felt no terror, but he could not keep his eyes open. His eyelids were clamped shut. Sounds grew distant, and the familiar image was projected onto the screen of his consciousness again and again. Sweat gushed from every part of his body and the armpits of his undershirt grew damp. He trembled all over, and his heartbeat grew faster and louder. She got his address from Tamaki and went to his apartment carrying a softball bat in a plastic blueprint tube.

Aomame checked to be sure the man was not at home. She used a screwdriver and hammer to break the lock on his door. Then she wrapped a towel around the bat several times to dampen the noise and proceeded to smash everything in the apartment that was smashable — the television, the lamps, the clocks, the records, the toaster, the vases: she left nothing whole. The destruction was utterly deliberate and complete. The room looked very much like the recent news photos she had seen of the streets of Beirut after the shelling.

Who but Murakami could even think of such a thing? And who but Murakami could manipulate realistic detail [MY NOTE: the specificity of the Worcestershire sauce, the ketchup] to the point of leaving the reader simultaneously shocked and amused? Another passage that only Murakami could have written involves the self-defense training that Aomame gives to women at the health club. She had studied kick patterns with great diligence and never missed her daily practice. In kicking the balls, the most important thing was never to hesitate.

One most not hesitate. A moment of indecision could be fatal…. As a woman, Aomame had no concrete idea how much it hurt to suffer a hard kick in the balls, though judging from the reactions and facial expressions of men she had kicked, she could at least imagine it. Not even the strongest or toughest man, it seemed, could bear the pain and the major loss of self-respect that accompanied it. Some time after that, Aomame happened to see the movie On the Beach on late-night television. It was an American movie made around Total war broke out between the US and the USSR and a huge number of missiles were launched between the continents like schools of flying fish.

The earth was annihilated, and humanity was wiped out in almost every part of the world. Aomame was primarily in charge of classes in muscle training and martial arts. It was a well-known, exclusive club with high membership fees and dues, and many of its members were celebrities. She made a large canvas dummy in the shape of a man, sewed a black work glove in the groin area to serve as testicles, and gave female club members thorough training in how to kick in that spot. In the interest of realism, she stuffed two squash balls into the glove. The women were to kick this target swiftly, mercilessly, and repeatedly.

In any case, Aomame had mastered at least ten separate techniques for kicking men in the balls…If the need arose, she knew, she would never hesitate to apply her sophisticated techniques in actual combat. Here, Murakami has managed to weave in both historical and cinematic references to outrageous effect. Indeed, more so than the attention paid to religious cults, which Murakami examined at length in the non-fiction Underground , the focus on the abuse of women can be counted as one of those surprises. Constipation was one of the things she hated most in the world, on part with despicable men who commit domestic violence and narrow-minded religious fundamentalists.

Kafka, asleep in bed gets a call from Oshima who tells him to get dressed and packed and ready to go. AS they drive, Oshima asks Kafka to stop seeing Ms. Saeki, at least for the time being, fearing that her deluded sense that Kafka is the reincarnation of her husband is dangerous. When they arrive at the cabin, Oshima lays down for a nap while Kafka puts away the groceries and reads for awhile. When Oshima wakes up, he once again warns Kafka about the dangers of wandering too far into the woods — it seems that during the War, a regiment of soldiers trained in these woods, and two disappeared, never to be found.

That night, he dreams about raping Sakura despite her pleas not to, telling him that although it is a dream, she is his sister. He orgasms and wakes up. Kafka once again goes into the woods, forging a trail with an axe, all the while arguing with Crow. He is, in effect, committing suicide. Wandering through the woods, Kafka feels so connected to the rhythms of nature that he is not afraid of being lost, but still feels despair that his mother hated him so much that she abandoned him and confusion about his feelings for Ms.

Indeed, he seems to doubt the possibility of actually feeling love for anyone. But as the soldiers lead Kafka through an increasingly treacherous woods, he tires and is starting to fall behind when they reach a ridge overlooking what looks like a deserted village. There, he is told to adjust to his surroundings much as Oshima told him to do and is left alone. When he wakes up, the spirit of the teenage Ms. Saeki is cooking him dinner. They sit and talk; she tells him she has no name and will appear whenever he needs to see her.

Kafka tells her that he feels he has come to this place to see her and one other person. Walker invites Crow to try and kill him; Crow leaps on him, gashing his skin and cutting out his eyes and tongue, but Johnnie just laughs. What was that all about??? Kafka wakes up in the lonely village, wanting to read a book, but there are none there. The spirit of the young Ms. Saeki returns to sit with him, telling him that she feels completely one with him. She also says that this village, a place where time is meaningless, is also a place where memory ceases to exist, along with hunger. Not unlike the End of the World?

After the 15 year old spirit disappears, the real Ms. Saeki enters the hut. Kafka prepares her tea and they talk her about their relationship.

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Kafka forgives her for leaving him as a child. He does once, at the top of the ridge, and comes close to not leaving. My take on this extraordinary section? Saeki, the evil spirit — has been trying to reach — a place free from time and desire — limbo. And this it seems is what Kafka has desired as well.

He has experienced pain and love and hope and loss almost comparable to Ms. And the two Imperial soldiers? They serve the role of Chiron on the River Styx, leading Kafka from one life to the next. And they also serve another role as well — as an image of two men who have avoided a life of pain and torment while giving up a life of happiness as well. As they drive back to Takamatsu, Sada says that the cabin is the one thing that unites him and Oshima. After discussing surfing, Kafka tells Sada that he went into the woods — Sada asks if he met the soldiers, although neither one will acknowledge what the soldiers told them.

At the library, Oshima tells Kafka that Ms. At the bus station, Kafka calls Sakura to tell her he is leaving Takamatsu.

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She tells him that she had dreamed of him a couple of nights earlier, but it was not the same rape dream he had — she dreamed that she was protecting him. On the bus back to Tokyo, Crow tells Kafka that he did well on his journey, but Kafka is worried that he learned nothing about himself. Crow tells him to sleep and when he wakes, he will be in a whole new life. There, Nakata talks to him about the stone, which he says is telling him that someplace nearby has what they need.

The same thing happens the next day, but on their way home, they got lost in the neighborhood surrounding their apartment and come across the Komura Library, which Nakata is sure is his destination. The intrepid duo return to the library where they are greeted by Oshima. Hoshino reads a book about Beethoven and at lunch, he talks with Oshima. In the afternoon, Nakata and Hoshino take Ms.

Saeki continues with the tour. Afterward, the pair go back to the reading room, but suddenly, Nakata runs out and into Ms. She agrees and closes the door so that they can speak in private.

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We learn that she opened the entrance stone when she was twenty to try to save her husband but was punished for doing so: first with his death, and then with her inability to forget their love. Now, she understands why Nakata is doing the same. She points out to him that HE Is the boy looking out at the water in the painting, and when they touch hands his mind suddenly floods with memories. Saeki gives Nakata a pile of papers that she says tells the story of her life and asks him to burn them.

She restores his memories, he destroys hers. Nakata and Hoshino leave to find a place to burn them; Oshima is so busy manning the front desk that is not until late afternoon that he realizes that Ms. Saeki has died. While he waits for the ambulance, Oshima makes note of the time to tell Kafka. After Nakata and Hoshino burn Ms.

In the cab, he tells Nakata how much the ten days he has spent with him have meant, and how Nakata has made him a better person.

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Nakata falls asleep in the cab, Hoshino carries him to bed, where Nakata dies peacefully in his sleep. Hoshino, afraid of complicity in the Tokyo murder, thinks about calling the examiner and leaving, but stops short, when he realizes that the entrance stone has not been closed. While waiting to figure out what to do with the stone, he turns the AC up to keep Nakata from smelling. The weather slowly gets better; the opposite of the storm when Hoshino flipped the stone for the first time.

So, that night, Hoshino waits by the stone with an arsenal of kitchen knives and mallets. His knives and mallets have no effect on it, so Hoshino concentrates all his energy on flipping the stone: after he does so, he easily kills the creature with a knife. And Kafka has learned the lesson that he ran away from home to discover. Saeki, who squandered her life after twenty, had begged him that he had to accept the pain of his own early live and keep on living.

Oshima seconded that in Chapter 49, telling Kafka that we store memories inside of us like books in a library, and only every now and they do we need to dust them off. The novel, then, ends like it began, with Kafka and Crow talking. At the beginning, Crow had cautioned Kafka that the only way he could survive was by becoming the toughest fifteen-year old in the world. And as the story ends on the bus back to Tokyo, Crow assures Kafka that he is a survivor.

Today she has the appearance of a woman in her midforties, but she is, almost literally, a mere shadow of herself with nothing but memories to sustain her. Much like Cinnamon, she spends her time writing memories in a notebook. Owing in part to his liberation from the snares of the human construct of time, like Yuki in Dance Dance Dance , Nakata is able to sense when certain things are going to happen. And yet, again like Yuki, he cannot be certain whether he is merely seeing what will happen or is actually making it happen. A lot of fish. Probably sardines, though there may be a few mackerel mixed in among them.

Somewhat later, at a rest area on the way to Shikoku, Nakata observes a man being beaten to death by a biker gang in a parking lot. Something in his body was quietly boiling over, and he was powerless to hold it back. He felt faintly nauseated…Nakata looked up at the sky, then slowly opened his umbrella above his head. Then, carefully, he took several steps backward…At first it was just a few spatters, but soon the numbers swelled and it became a downpour.

They were pitch-black and about an inch long. Beneath the lights of the parking lot it looked fascinating, like black snow. They tried to pull them off, but this was not easily done. Does Nakata open his umbrella because it is about to rain leeches, or does it rain leeches because Nakata opens his umbrella? Even Nakata appears uncertain. Later in the novel he confides to Hoshino that he is afraid of being used for some terrible evil.

He has never truly been in control of his life or of the things that happen in this world through him. But what exactly has Saeki been writing on her manuscript paper, so much that it fills many large file folders? This collection of manuscript pages thus stands in for the physical remains of Saeki; its burning will be her cremation.

Though he is unable to read or write himself, Nakata intuitively grasps the importance of both, for as Saeki tries to explain to him, the process of writing is synonymous with the act of living, of existing meaningfully, something about which Nakata has no firsthand knowledge since his childhood:. Nakata asked her. It is the act of writing that is so very important. There is nothing meaningful in what has been written, in the result itself.

Stated another way, words — spoken or written — create a new reality for themselves. The act of writing, rather than what is written, is important because through this means we create a new, often tangible, reality. For Saeki, however, the only person she might wish to read her words is long gone from this world, so she directs Nakata to destroy them. In so doing, as we will see [below], Kafka uses his oracle to construct a world in which he regains not only his mother and sister but a renewed and for him, more acceptable sense of identity.

This journey, in the case of Kafka on the Shore, is made by the title character, Kafka himself. As a cautionary tale, Oshima tells him about two deserters from the Imperial Army during World War II who escaped into the forest, never to be seen again. In time, of course, Kafka does enter the forest, marking trees with spray paint as he goes, like Hansel and Gretel dropping bits of bread.

During his initial stay at the cabin he explores slowly and methodically, venturing slightly farther each day into its murky depths. Even here, at the edge of the metaphysical world, he senses something powerful and mysterious. The description is remarkably like that of the protagonist in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World :. The towering trees surround me like a wall. In the gloomy hues, something hidden among the trees, like in an optical illusion picture, is observing my movements.

Not until the end of the novel, however, does Kafka finally penetrate deeply enough to discover those who actually reside in the metaphysical realm of the forest. Initially, he meets up with two soldiers — the same two who disappeared during World War II, and although the war has been over for decades, both appear exactly as they were the day they deserted from the Imperial Army.

They lead Kafka into a dense part of the forest, eventually coming upon a small cluster of cabins deep in the woods. Much as we see in the latter pages of Hear the Wind Sing , as Kafka converses with others, he is also conversing always with himself. When Kafka finally does reach the village, he is mildly surprised to find that it has electricity supplied by wind power, and even electrical appliances, though they are uniformly fifteen to twenty years out of date and look as though they have been taken out of trash dumps.

The forest will preserve both versions of Saeki forever. This is accomplished through the mind-body separation we have already seen in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. This is, on the one hand, liberating, as our potential readings of the text increase exponentially depending on how we choose to confront each character; at the same time, much of the complexity — and confusion — in this novel arises from its use of a kind of latticed structure, in which characters with intact inner selves are juxtaposed with those who have no inner self, as well as some who appear to have multiple inner selves.

When this inherent confusion of character identity is combined with the overlay — like transparency films placed atop one another — of multiple historical eras in physical time, the tangle grows even worse. Kawai Hayao is also drawn into this slippage between identities within these father figures:. This novel is full of fathers. So it is not so simple as just killing the father and having done with it; no matter how many times the father is killed, he just keeps reemerging in different guises.

Whether Kawai means to argue for shirting core identities, this is precisely what leaves us in so much doubt about who is really who. One approach to this dilemma is to explore the historical layering of the novel. Each of the three principled characters we meet — Nakata, Saeki, and Tamura Kafka — represents a distinct generation, a discreet historical era, and each at some point in his or her youth, for various reasons, enters the metaphysical world.

Interesting…] As such, we will focus our attention chiefly on what actually happened to Nakata on that day in After cleaning herself as best she can, she buries the bloody towel far from the group, yet not long thereafter finds Nakata standing before her, presenting her bloody towel to her in silence. Possessed by a sudden, uncontrollable rage, she beats him savagely about the face. Shortly after this, a silvery glint is seen in the sky — the teacher assumes it is a lone B bomber, perhaps on reconnaissance.

Suddenly all the children collapse in a collective faint. All awaken some hours later, with no apparent ill effects, save Nakata, who remains in his coma for several weeks. When at last he awakens, he has not only lost his memory but the ability to construct new memories as well. He has, however, acquired the ability to speak the language of cats.

He spends the rest of his days a ward of his family, and later the state, unable to read or write but useful to the families in his neighborhood in locating lost pets. In fact, more than once Nakata explains to other characters that he is without a shadow, and so we may view in him an idea of what might have happened to the protagonist of that earlier work if, rather than remaining in the forest that stands between the physical and metaphysical worlds, he had instead managed to escape the Town and return to the physical world without his shadow — one of four possible scenarios Murakami identifies for the earlier novel.

Did it die? To answer this, we need to look at the moments at which flesh and spirit break apart. This he does and soon arrives at the home recently abandoned by Kafka. In the dim light admitted through the closed curtains, he can see only that there is a desk in the room and the silhouette of someone seated beside it. He was neither young nor old. This is why he has summoned Nakata. He urges Nakata, likewise, to do his duty as a soldier:. But listen here, Mr. There are times when no one cares much about your tendencies.

You need to understand that. Like in war…When war starts, you get taken to be a soldier. You have to kill a lot of them.

enter No one cares whether you like it or not. In this statement, Johnny Walker reveals his true character as a spirit: he is a force of chaos, of bloodlust, the madness that possesses ordinary people in times of war. A violent confusion was attempting to change the constitution of his flesh. No one — not even Nakata himself — could have stopped him. He advanced with great strides, and without hesitation snatched up one of the knives on the desk. Johnny Walker laughs hysterically throughout his own murder, for he knows that this killing is the key to his release into the physical world.

This explication of the role of the spirit taking the form of Johnny Walker gives us insight into the nature and role of the other important spirit in this novel, that taking the form of Colonel Sanders. When Nakata and his young sidekick Hoshino reach Takamatsu, the latter takes a stroll around town and meets up with Colonel Sanders, who, in addition to promising to help him locate the Gateway Stone that blocks the portal between the physical and metaphysical worlds, procures for him a stunning prostitute — significantly, a university student majoring in philosophy, thus representing the rational, ordered nature of the universe.

From this we conclude that where Johnny Walker is a force of destruction and death, Colonel Sanders is a force of life, plenty, fertility, and pleasure. It would, however, be a mistake to assign value judgments to these two sides of the dichotomy, for the two spirits transcend such human considerations. Rather, both are necessary, both forces of nature, each defining the other. When Colonel Sanders dominates, we behave in a manner that leads to order and tranquility; when Johnny Walker takes over, we lose our cool and act as beasts.

For Jung, the latter would be considered the darker, more primitive side of the inner shadow, emotional and predictable. The question, as always, is one of balance between our own inner forces of nature, between the inner and outer minds, the flesh and the spirit, the physical and the metaphysical aspects of our selves. The balance is achieved through control or, at times, the lack of control over the flow of psychic energy between the two realms.

When the distortions of the world are corrected, these distortions are also corrected. The burden of correcting these distortions falls to Nakata. So…what did you think of the book? Share your thoughts and questions with the group! Kafka gets another late night visit from the spirit of the teenage Ms.

Saeki and realizes in the morning that he is love with the spirit and that the spirit is in love with her long-dead lover. Later that day, Kafka brings her coffee, and she asks why he ran away from home. As they talk, she says that he reminds her of a boy she knew long ago. She also mentions, curiously enough, that she had written a book of interviews with people who had been struck by lightning. That night, Kafka remembers that when he was younger, his father had been struck by lightning on a golf course.

Kafka is visited again by the spirit, and that morning, Oshima is interviewed by the police. When Kafka brings Ms. That night, Kafka wonders if he is in love with the younger or the older Ms. Kafka calls Sakura to warn her that the police know he has called her in the past — that was how they traced him to the library — and to let her know that he is safe.

A Wild Sheep Chase

She invites him to come back to her place, but he tells her that he is in love with somebody else. Sakura tells him that if he ever needs to talk, he can call her.