Questions for Murakami

With all the snow, I nearly forgot that Haruki Murakami, who is arguably my favorite living author, is currently receiving questions through a special website, Murakami-san no Tokoro (Mr. Murakami’s Place).

I first ran across Murakami’s writing nearly 15 years ago when I read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World for a Japanese literature class. I was intrigued just by the title and, while I often regret that I haven’t gone back to re-read it, it remains one of my favorite works to this day.

His genre is metaphysical fiction.

His characters wonder through life, listening to jazz, talking with cats, and hollowly searching for connection in an isolated world. Some are moved to search for meaning while others are resigned to knowing there is none.

His stories remind me of Vonnegut, though his style is quite different.

When I saw that he was accepting questions from the public, I rather thought I ought to submit something.

I’m not one to get star-struck – I generally disdain contact with celebrities who are unlikely to remember my existence – but this is, perhaps, too rare an opportunity to pass up.

But then, of course, there’s the question of just what to ask him. I’d like to go back and re-read Hard-Boiled Wonderland, to re-read Kafka on the Shore, or to re-read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Perhaps those pages would inspire the perfect question to ask.

And while I’d like to re-read those books someday, I’ll likely not re-read them today. So, I suppose instead I’ll just ask the question that all his books see to answer:

Why live in a meaningless world?

And this question isn’t merely one of being – I mean live here in its finest sense.

Why seek agency and autonomy, why live life to the fullest – and how do you live life to the fullest in a world that is ultimately, tragically, beautifully, meaningless?

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