Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

Variety is a part and parcel of all companionship. And because there are all kinds of people making different choices, there is always a possibility of something unusual, magical even, happening to a rather ordinary person. Do we manifest it ourselves? Or are we puppets entertaining our most intuitive and intimate fantasies?

In Sputnik Sweetheart, the surreal quality of human nature is illuminated. The quality of expecting anything from life. The quality of manifesting the deepest sorrow and happiness into versions of ourselves and sharing them with the universe.

What the book is also about is the comprehension of desire and how it is not only found but constructed by us. The delicate details of the book, its imagination, and magical realism are all interconnected with who we are. And this appeals to one’s feelings and deepest melancholy in a way that can only be intensified with storytelling.


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Dance Dance Dance – Haruki Murakami

The image of something dark, something underground. If that sounds familiar to you, it means you’re well-acquainted with Haruki Murakami’s work.

Dance Dance Dance is a chaotic yet beautifully structured novel. The unnamed protagonist, in search of a lost someone, is ready to delve into the dark side of his existence. The darkness is not negative but merely profound in Murakami’s sense. It’s the only thing that he can depend on to give his life the dimension he seeks.

Caught in a stream of circumstances and characters, he tries to connect the dots. Everything seems so natural, it’s almost as if he was meant to travel down that road. With or without cause. To finally reconnect with that deep core within.


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For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

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The Search for Lost Things: In Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude

Neither reality nor any other form of describable possibility can tell you what this book’s setting free. You can regard it as a parallel to a life, that is birthed and breathed. Nor can I bring to life the intricate and animated lives that bind One Hundred Years of Solitude. The countless possibilities of imagination its literature binds to something that remains unhindered and untouched in a world quite unique to our own. So still are the characters’ lives and so run by the course of time that even One Hundred Years, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez seemed too short enough to be lived. The quest for an ending, along with time, love, and loss, is almost unending. The end itself forms the premise of an undying destiny bred through what is lived and what is left by people molded by it.

So, are we free of transforming from mud to bricks?

Are we neglected by death even if we don’t make a sound? While these questions have not yet found answers. To me, asking the question is enough to feel privileged for a book this purifying, provocative, and enchanting to the soul.

“…watching the flow of the fire as it glided the persistent woman who neither then nor in any instant of her life seemed to exist completely.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

one hundred years of solitude book review

The ground on which One Hundred Years of Solitude stands on is made of tectonic plates that rattle, constantly, with no discipline to show for. The rattle is demeaning but crucial; bewildering but swift. It’s the unpredictability of intuition and intention we’re so oblivious to. And if such virtuosity exists, it exists in this book. It speaks of solitude with purpose and purpose without the loss of hope. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the absolute ticket to what imagination could bring into this world. It is the precipice that knows no bounds and has no explicit shape or color.

What is recognized is not how the characters live the same lives, but how each character dives deeper into history, repeating its course over and over again so as to be close to it. Like a spell-bound and possessed lover. These dimensions I’ve drawn up are unscathed and undiscoverable to the naked eye. It’s what is undisciplined and pure, quite like the transgressions of the story. The vessel of humanity which runs in spite of the destined lapses of space and time.

“…the search for lost things is hindered by routine habits and that is why it is so difficult to find them.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

What does this vessel do? It protects what is yours. It defends soil without breathing life into it. So when you bury a seed deep into the ground, you’re no longer a part of it. You will never look upon that patch of earth ever again. Why? Because to you, the act of planting the seed and giving it life is an act of never having to exist with it. So, you can live outside the realms of the law. And you give purpose to such indiscretions as you’ve had to survive through it.

Again, the act of diving deep into history just to be intimate with it. To have it give you a purpose and to have you give it a reason. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a magical ode to literature and the muscle it yields to stay close to your soul.

 

one hundred years of solitude book review
Even after you’ve read it, the words continue to enchant the mind, purify the heart. Until there’s nothing left but a sweltering desire to see the day run its end. For the sun to set and the moon to take its place. How can you count days and nights without numbers? How can you control time if not without a clock? Because then, in doing so, time is not passed on but felt. Then, in feeling so, days don’t end with nights. Instead, the passage of time dissolves into an abyss, in the laps of darkness, until we dissolve in it too.

Such is the fusion lives with which we identify so vividly and delicately. We try to believe that the sun and the moon are two opposites. But in this book, you understand that they’re the only laws of the earth we’ve supposed to mark and follow. The only laws that give life and death unerringly by swallowing it whole.

On the Seemingly Vain Things We Do: In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise

To reach the highest point of something is to expose oneself to the atrocities of what exists on the other side. That, too, is often self-possessing and leaves a person insecure to the dreariness of living. Does this struggle make us desolate and alone, or will we die knowing we thoroughly testified against the trial that ran its course throughout our lifetime?

The truth about our ego is to look at the world within the limits of our own perspective of it. This, as much distinct and unnerving, is an invitation to what we’d like to become. And not our matter of being.

Just like in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise — the chapter Snapshots of the Young Egotist, Fitzgerald writes:

“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the becoming. This, too, was quite characteristic of Amory.”

He also wrote a striking reflection of the character which we see much of everywhere in the light of betrayal and domination:

“Amory kept his temper with difficulty. He became aware that he had not an ounce of real affection for Isabelle, but her coldness piqued him. He wanted to kiss her, kiss her a lot, because then he knew he could leave in the morning and not care. On the contrary, if he didn’t kiss her, it would worry him… It would interfere vaguely with his idea of himself as a conqueror. It wasn’t dignified to come off second best, pleading, with a doughty warrior like Isabelle.”

This passage examines a person mastering something that feels chaotic and passive, but in fact, is opposed to such remarks. Given our tiring limits of existence, can we unravel the drudgery of our actions? Such magnetism toward one’s own cause and consequence is sure to keep one awake at night. And this is greater than fear… which is greater than my humility. But what I feel and how I feel exists as only mirrors to what others have made me out to be. So, if I were to tear the unsanctified pages of my relationship with what’s between me and others, as a means to an end — what would I be? An egotist, reasonable of doubt, and a captive to my own feelings and emotions.

So, would there be a difference between my character and Amory’s? In the understanding of this thought, I felt as if my surety in my own self was finally defeated. That I’m as capable of translating judgment and conceit in my thoughts as in my actions toward others. We all are. And that gives us leverage; a peek into myriad characters we resonate with in books, movies, and music. And will continue to do so. At last, when I return to my lonely bed at night, there’s no dishonour in dismissing what I am — for what I want to become tomorrow is the only self-serving advantage I am granted.

On Life With Consequences: In Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things

The idea around this book, this story that didn’t need practicing or explaining but stemmed from something that was endured. The God of Small Things is a disguise which reveals itself delicately. It’s a vessel constantly overflowing on some days with politics; while love has invariably submerged itself with laws of having emotional and physical consequences. It leaves an impact on life and the thing we call life itself. A body brimming with emotions. A vessel brimming with water it’s not designed to hold. A life with consequences it’s not supposed to have.

“Estha occupied very little space in the world.”
– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

 

“Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit, and it was amazing the kind of things one could get used to.”
– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

There’s a passing of worlds and generations in us that we are the unwavering outcomes of. A missing element. A shadow lurking in corners that were built years before we were born. Those corners feel like boulders we carry on our shoulders. Too heavy to lift without succumbing to the parched ground underneath our feet. Too wide to let go without falling with it. The final weight crushing every part of our body. And everything else that nature conspired to build in us. This weight is pragmatic, no less. It is enslaved with history, desire, regrets, and forced imitations.

The god of small things by arundhati roy- for the public eye review
The cost of living is unbiased to our means of paying for it. How can it be possible to build the simplest beings in the world and enforce on them ideas that remain unchanged for over hundreds of years? So ingrained are our feelings of life and death that what’s left to render in between becomes the only primal test of living.

What about the end of living? Death is certainly not the end of living. The former is not as consequential as we think it is. The stronger dose is the latter with its own poison and own grave. End of living is the only way of leaving without a body.

Of wandering with no cause.

“Small Things were said. The Big Things lurked unsaid inside.”
– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

When the little things are as indifferent in this world as the big things. Because you see yourself in neither. The little things have a world of their own. Following the course of life in the things humans leave behind. A habit too habitual to have you in it. Too constant. Too committed to the way of living that a slight step in the wrong direction and you have nowhere to belong.

The big things so encompassing that finding yourself in such a convoluted maze would be impossible and destructive. The big things are what dreams are made of. They are what constitutes to hopes and life worth living. Nothing about the big things feel discoverable because you’re still unaffected, untouched, and invisible. Rummaging through the haystacks to find the needle is unthinkable when it’s you who is the needle in the haystack.

When it’s your wounds that still remain irreparable.

What of the Small Things then?

Who’s the Savior?

Consequences arise out of misery, but are only counted, measured, and treasured when felt. Otherwise, they pass on like the air we breathe over generations.

On Finding Strength in Simplicity and Simplicity in Strength: In Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood

The only way to love is to give to a kind of lif that brings bliss, melancholy, and a longing for the light at the end of a tunnel.

We’re happier set free than we are caged. Figurative, of course, is the enclosure of our feelings and experiences that we become so intimate with. And in considering why that is, I’ve observed, the present starts to look much more forgiving and profound than when observed by looking back at our memories. Reading Murakami’s Norwegian Wood for the second time put me in a haze so vivid and satisfying that I never wanted to put the book down.

A verse from the book:

“I didn’t have much to say to anybody but kept to myself and my books. With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw its fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy.”

After all, the simplest things in life are enough to keep us happy. As Murakami writes, “We all just keep doing the same things.” Some may not perceive it this way, but passages like these are so imaginative and profound that they draw a parallel. A parallel into the pursuit of another life in which we’re seen mirroring the same inwardness and openness to our existence. Only here, in this world, we’re creatures devoid of possibilities and coincidences.

I want to believe that there are no coincidences in life. That the beauty in existing is in appreciating our own reflections in everything around us. In accepting life the way it serves the bitter or sweet or tasteless flavors. And that saying everything we do has meaning is a less painful way of believing that we care too deeply.

“We all just keep doing the same things.”

Maybe that’s the only way one musters strength in life and death. Reliving any moment in words is revivifying but reliving them still brings with it a kind of soreness in the want to feeling something. Simple verses, like the ones you read in Norwegian Wood, are unexampled pillars by which the pains of others are understood. And in doing so, I am healed of the piercing twinge in my soul.

I imagine a meadow at the cusp of bearing sunshine and warmth. With a kind of simple strangeness that envelopes an open field. As I take a closer look, life begins its journey feeling a little simpler and much less convoluted.

Maybe that’s all Norwegian Wood does. The book wants us to unravel in the celebration of simplicity within simplicity. Of loving and being without conditions and of letting go of the hurtful aspects of life only to embrace it on a more fundamental level. The book wants us to live. Each day, getting closer to the open field, and slightly transformed into a meadow with an essence of its own.

There is longing, delicate and infinite in each word, sentence, and chapter. With a hint of acceptance, innocence, and compassion. So, what happens and when it happens are only the natural courses of life. It is our natural course. And embracing the extraordinary workings of the world around us makes our own lives so strange and beautiful.

So, in entertaining such a thought, the boundaries of the meadow expand and answer to our most mechanical question: What is life? The answer is a speck of dust on a clean, spotless surface. And this governs the law of our place in the world.

On Silence and Loneliness: In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

I can’t help myself. Embracing solitude in anxiety and comfort is greater than remaining habitual. But as humans, we do both. Extract the good from the bad. Accept it. And still remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. I felt this conversation clinging to me when I was reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which is wired to her emotions as my own. Revisiting her The Bell Jar, I found myself taking down notes page after page, not to review, but to deeply connect to and understand her work. And modernity doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. These sentences, for example, extract the singular meaning of what makes humans vicious yet so purely beautiful:

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of physical contact, some in conversations, and some in emotional and sexual intimacy. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens — we lose things too. We lose our ability to familiarize with words that we used to manifest so conveniently. Words like hope, happiness, responsibility, strength, love, and loss. For me, my loneliness is the embodiment of invisible objects awakened for silent protests of intimacies that go beyond my understanding.

Somewhere in the space between the present and the future, this silence has consumed me. But here’s the interpretation of it: it’s not something that has happened, is happening, or will happen. It’s the kind of lacuna that exists as is as a part of me. If there’s a word for self-reflection — for the feelings that appear and re-appear in a sequence of time — each time it devotes its significance to my own prelude to existing and living: then this is it. My loneliness is my vessel of familiarity, of being erratic, and of having to succumb to cause and effect in the happenings of my life. And suddenly, my own silence occurred to me as if I was thrown back into placid reflections. Reflections as inescapable as breathing and as delicate as dust that I can’t help but embrace time’s inevitable passing. I am sure of what my loneliness means to me — and The Bell Jar reminds of its unwavering significance. What is loneliness? Is it yours as much as it is mine, or is it the measure of what we don’t say? I am not sure — but of what I am is, for me, a breath of fresh air.

On Reasoning Over Reason Itself: In Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem (A Report on the Banality of Evil)

The degree to which the phrase — “Incredibly Complicated Machine of Destruction” — taken from the book Eichmann in Jerusalem, written by Hannah Arendt, regards itself as a disorder which has the power to make one blind and indifferent. But the indifference is not as unsettling as the idea of relentless and unquestionable manipulation over reasoning. Can something be used against an entity to a such an extent that it only conspires to serve its purpose? And that its (which is the elimination of a culture itself) destruction may become admirable and second-nature? That a human being is capable of allowing such deception by means of metaphysical and supposedly superior objectives to drive one toward their own inevitable and ironic destruction. What I’m trying to illustrate here is the birthplace of a disorder so transparent, yet forsaken that it imprisons itself. And with it all of human life.

When I read the words “incredibly complicated machine of destruction,” which, in the book, is written to portray the mannerism of the Nazi Germans who availed themselves to different chains of commands and leadership groups toward the killing of Jews — I couldn’t help but write about it. Not about the book or what that statement means in connection to it, but about the psychology of manipulated reasoning toward ideas and actions that overshadow, and ultimately, destroy physical consequences.

If I concentrate my attention toward the psychology behind such undeviating and wistful manipulation, I think about the impact of our intuition on the human condition, which is personality itself. It feels as though a privilege to be able to speak the uncomfortable truth about ourselves without having to conform our truths to all others. If we’re in the territory of doubt and fear, is it that obvious that we must get out of it? And if not then try to sublimate it? This brings up a flood of questions that counter faith, purpose, and meaning. Mind you, in a circumstance as vulnerable as this, purpose and meaning do not share the same definition.

Coming back to my point, if intuition is the spine to all our told and untold emotions and experiences, how can we, warped and conscious, trust it? It’s because that we don’t that we’ve become our own incredibly complicated system. But not of destruction, but of survival, awakening, and nurturing. Humans have conspired a highly distinguished system of constant reasoning and systematic interpretation that in layman’s terms is famous as “personality.”

It’s an ocean of our time. An understanding of human nature. And a poetic and vexing ode to our own reflections. So, when I talk about an incredibly complicated machine of destruction, I’m reminded of one that had originated long before that of anti-Semites and the Nazi regime, which through consequential control and egotistic alienation has become its own childbirth. And that is what crowns itself the badge of destiny, which millions have fallen prey to.