A Real Tough Guy and a Fictitious Public Official


Or is it the other way around? A fictitious tough guy and a real public official. The second version seems scarier than the first one. But ... anything is possible ... as always.

Before I started reading Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, I stumbled across the information about Raymond Chandler and Franz Kafka influencing this particular novel. Farewell My Lovely and The Castle were mentioned specifically. I decided to give it a try, to sort of try a different approach to Murakami. 

I used to read Chandler in my teens, I even watched the series on TV. I liked it back then, but it was thirty years ago, give or take a few years. Farewell My Lovely is a piece of hardboiled fiction, and it was published in 1940. The story features an antihero detective tough guy, organized crime, corrupt police officers, drugs and violence. There's also a femme fatalle, begging to be seduced rich woman and a good girl, who just isn't sinful enough (Marlowe's words, not mine). It's a detailed first person narrative, I didn't particularly like Marlow's narration, he seems too, I don't know which the rights expression is, too smart, too wanting-to-be-tough guy. Not my type, anyway. 

The Castle by Fraz Kafka is a completely different type of nove, as I was expecting it would be. I read Kafka's The Trial in high school, but I guess I was to immature to really appreciate it back then. The Castle is atmospheric and scary in its dealings with the bureaucracy. K., the land-surveyor, comes to the village, governed by the officials from the castle. No one is allowed to go to the castle, the public officials come to the inn at night to deal with the villagers when they need to. For the most part of the story K. is trying to contact Klamm, the official who is supposed to have hired K. He never actually meets him, nobody really knows how he looks like and I was starting to wonder if Klamm even exists. The word klam in Czech means deception or illusion. Do the public officials working in the inn exist? Does the village itself exist or has K. lost his way in the snow and ended up in an illusionary world from his own deep void?

Back to Murakami. Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World consists of two stories alternating throughout the novel. One is similar to hardboiled fiction, featuring a computer information expert, able to launder and shuffle information using his brain. There's The System, a mad scientist and a scull belonging to the unknown unicorn-like species of a mammal. The End of the World is lyrical, descriptive and melancholy. The moment a person arrives to The End of the World, his shadow is taken away from him. The main protagonist is a Dreamreader. He reads dreams from ancient animal skulls in a dark, deserted library. Winter has just arrived and things are starting to get weird.

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Resnični frajer in navidezni javni uslužbenec. Morda pa je obratno. Navidezni frajer in resnični javni uslužbenec. Obratna različica se mi zdi veliko bolj strašljiva. Sicer pa ... vse je mogoče ... kot vedno.
 
Preden sem začela brati Murakamijevo Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, sem nekje na netu naletela na informacijo, da sta na to delo vplivala Raymond Chandler in Franz Kafka. Posebej sta bili omenjeni Zbogom, draga moja in Grad. Pomislila sem, da bi lahko tokrat brala drugače, tako, s pred pripravami. :-)

Chandlerja sem brala kot najstnica, v obdobju, ko sem požrla vse kar je dišalo po kriminalkah. Takrat so celo vrteli serijo na televiziji. Zbogom, draga moja je tip črne/trde kriminalke, ki je izšla leta 1940. Glavna oseba v zgodbi je antijunak, privatni detektiv Philip Marlowe, ki se srečuje z organiziranim kriminalom, skorumpiranimi policisti, mamili in nasiljem. Potem je tu fatalna ženska, bogatašinja, ki kar prosi, da jo nekdo zapelje in dobro dekle, ki ni dovolj grešna (Marlowove besede, ne moje). Pripoved je prvoosebna in precej podrobna, vendar ne morem reči, da mi je njegov način podajanja dogajanj posebno všeč. Marlowe je nekako ... ne vem kateri izraz bi uporabila ... preveč pameten, preveč hoče biti frajer. Definitivno ni moj tip.

Kafkov Grad je nekaj popolnoma drugega, kot sem tudi pričakovala, da bo. V srednji šoli sem brala Proces, vendar takrat nisem bila dovolj zrela, da bi znala ceniti Kafko. Grad je atmosferična pripoved, v delu, kjer se ukvarja z birokracijo, zna biti strašljiva. K, zemljemerec, pride v vas, ki jo obvladujejo uradniki z Gradu. Nihče ne sme v grad, uradniki pa prihajajo dol v vas, kjer ponoči uradujejo v gostilni. Večji del zgodbe K skuša vzpostaviti stik s Klammom, ki ga je najel. Klamma nikoli ni zares srečal, pa tudi drugi ljudje ne vedo točno kakšen je, čeprav so ga že videli. Počasi sem se začela spraševati ali Klamm sploh obstaja. Beseda klam, v Kafkovi materni češčini, pomeni laž ali iluzija. Ali uradniki, ki ponoči uradujejo v gostilni res obstajajo? Ali sama vas res obstaja ali pa je K. morda zašel v snegu in se znašel v navideznem svetu svoje lastne notranje praznine?

Pa se vrnimo k Murakamiju. V knjigi Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World se izmenjavata dve zgodbi. Ena spominja na črno kriminalko, glavni junak je računalničar, strokovnjak za informacije, ki jih lahko obdeluje z uporabo možganov. Nad njim se Sistem, sreča pa se tudi z norim znanstvenikom in lobanjo neznanega, enorogu podobnega sesalca. The End of the World (Konec sveta) je lirična, opisna in melanholična zgodba. Ko človek pride na Konec sveta, mu najprej vzamejo senco, ki potem živi svoje življenje, dokler ne umre. Glavni junak je Bralec sanj, ki v veliki, temačni in opusteli knjižnici bere stare sanje iz lobanj. Zima je prišla, stvari pa postajajo vedno bolj čudne.



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