Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dance Dance Dance

This is the second Murakami that I picked up to read back-to-back. While 'The Elephant Vanishes' was a great collection of eclectic stories, 'Dance Dance Dance''s beauty lies in the fact that the prose is actually like a great dance.

It begins slowly, reaches a nice little pace in the first half, a crescendo towards the middle and ends on a beautiful note.

As Murakami build his characters in the first few pages - the main character is unnamed but this is his story, he slowly but surely pushes your imagination and draws you into the life of the character. It is a slow book to start but if you can get beyond the first 50 - 60 pages, you are in for a treat. Murakami's prose in this book especially is really like a dance. It flows and grabs you in its fluid nature. The beauty of his prose is that you can actually picturise the incidents as they are happening in the book. For me that is the secret of a fictional book's success. If I can smell the characters, feel them and picture them in the story, then the book is worth spending time on.

From the beginning when he re-visits the Dolphin hotel only to realise that it has changed drastically but is still central to his life to the end when he returns back to the hotel it is an amazing story of connectedness and how each person can lead you forward into your life. Each of Murakami's characters have their flaws and that's what makes them so interesting. They don't lead perfect lives and even if on the surface you thought that they do, if you scratch the surface you realise that each one of them fights with their own demons.

The book is also a great collection of amazing characters that come to life. Yuki, the adolescent lonely teenager with special gifts; Gotanda, the darling of B grade movies with a secret that could destroy him; Yumiyoshi, the regular but beautiful hotel receptionist who wants to sleep with the main character but doesn't know if she should; Ame- Yuki's mother, a super talented photographer who knows only that - to photograph and lives her life in her pictures; Dick North, the one armed poet who can slice bread more efficiently than anyone else and whose life is about subservience and serving and finally Murakami's own poetic dig at himself - Hiraku Makimura, an ex-successful writer who thinks money can buy everything. I particularly liked the last touch of Murakami about the author down on his luck. Wonder if that's how he saw himself down the years.

I won't reveal the story or the plot but suffice to say that there are certain images from this book that will stay with you for a long time - Yuki with her headphones listening to music; Yumiyoshi with her glasses behind the hotel's reception; Gotanda and his Maserati. You will also remember and hear the music in the story when it comes up.

Murakami has a facsination for loneliness and many of his stories deal with this aspect of life. Thankfully 'Dance Dance Dance' does not end in loneliness for the main character.
I rate it 4.5/5. Read might just like it.

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