#3 Murakami Ryu’s Almost Transparent Blue

我拼命吸气,但只有一点空气吸进身体,那空气似乎并不是通过口腔和鼻孔,而是从胸前的一个小孔中流出来的。我的腰麻木得不能动弹,心脏一阵阵绞痛,太阳穴的血管膨胀着,无规则地怦怦乱跳。闭上眼睛,我觉得整个身体在被温存的爱抚,又像涂在汉堡包上的奶酪一样正在融化。我的体内分裂成级冷的部分和带有热量的部分, 它们回旋着,像试管中的水和油块。 村上龙《近似无限透明的蓝色》 Finished October 11-22

"摇滚、吸毒、群居、暴力、飞车、堕落的青春" (sex, drugs, violence, rock n' roll, misspent youth etc.) is somehow appropriate motifs for the moment. Don't ask and I won't tell, not that there is anything to tell, actually. It's a matter of state of mind, rather. Not that there is anything going on there, either. Sometimes I think I need to stop being infatuated/attracted to the shifty characters in life. I'm not sure they are actually more interesting. Living like this can be tiring though. Life becomes a collection of notes and notices. Lately, I feel like every conversation is a research point, like I wish people would just hand me the abridged version of their life and interests on a effing facebook profile or something. But I'm not actually whining... I'm actually, pretty productive, pretty happy, pretty in love, not really on the last bit, I don't think, but it's fun to say, not fun to regret, so let's cut that in half.

My hairdresser called this time instead of text msg to remind me to get my hair treated. Ring tone scared me nine in the morning cuz nobody calls cells in this country unless it's an emergency. "Qing Qing, why are you always forgetting? What are you doing today?" So far he's blown me off twice to sit down and chat because he's works thirteen hours a day and six days a week, either that or he actually doesn't love me, but I honestly think he is busy, and I honestly need his story, just because... I don't know, youth, hippies, skateboarders, hip-hop, lifestyle, art, hairdressers somehow go well together. He's great. I'll just make him write an autobio while "playing with my hair."

Hey... wasn't this a book review?

Oh, dear Minako, happy birthday, btw.

Reading Almost Transparent Blue is like driving with some reckless, miserable, drunken kid. Every other chapter you endure a 70 mph car crash, only to discover, miserably, that you are still alive, as alive as the fly on the pineapple in the sink. I didn't know half of the drug terms because they were in Chinese, but the early scene of heroine injection is about the closest acquaintance I will ever be with heavy drugs. It's a dirty dirty book. I'm not sure I liked it. I did like the shock factor, the type of visceral, caught off guard, he did fuckin' what, mouth hanging open shock values that have made me grown as a person, methinks. It's the type of experience that you wonder about, like yesterday when Wengang Ge cursed from the bottom of the floor to the top, throwing his coat with so much force and fury against the wall. When quiet people go berzerk, you wonder... you just wonder... Except it made me wonder what it must be like to live in an abusive home, how one must grow numb. Anyway, men are scary, can be, I wouldn't one screaming or hurting me ever, that is all.

Reading Almost Transparent Blue isn't always as raucous as rock music though. The book is interluded with mute, ambiguous scenes of the narrator with Lily. I once said books are driven by characters, this is true in most places, and it's true here. The problem with ATB is, I couldn't sympathize with any of the kids, however many there are. Six? Seven? But maybe Murakami was going for a blurred youth nameless faces type of effect, but I didn't like the narrator.

It's hard to write a narrator based on yourself, I suppose. No matter how hard one tries, the danger of narcissism always slips in. Murakami Ryu's Ryu is a cloudy narrator. He's more narrator than 1st person storyteller, and though that makes him more distant, less biased, somehow it makes it all the worse because it makes his persona seems cold, distant, lost. And we know coming of age (or never coming of age, for that matter), or lost is what he is, but it's frustrating because the other characters unwittingly surround him, reflects off of him, and the reader too, is dancing around him, wishing he would wake up, Ryu, wake up, do something, don't just stand there, do something, Ryu.

There was one scene that was classic Japanese manga/cinema. One of the kids, after beating up his girlfriend viciously, slits his wrist. "Now you know how I feel about you," he says to her. To which she replies, "Toshiyama, we're going out to eat. It's noon already and nobody's eaten yet. If you want to die, go die alone, go outside and go die alone, don't bring trouble for Ryu." Insert deadpan Japanese girl voice.

Hmmm... but I don't remember her name, don't care for her name, maybe that is okay.

Hmm... well, moral of the story, know your limits. ;)