A little while ago I went to the exhibition and talk by Shaun Tan at Tinning Street Presents, “Every Place is the Same”. And as I read Murakami now, those images are coming back to me. They both share an interest in the relationship between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Tan’s landscapes, often those urban spaces you see every day, become a place of whimsy and beauty – showing their potential to be extraordinary.
Murakami’s work is no less whimsical or beautiful, but almost a direct opposite. As he shows us the ordinary in the extraordinary. The easy acceptance of the impossible, makes it seem almost every day.
Can we constantly be in these two states? Schrödinger’s thought experiment was to disprove using the Quantum mechanical superposition state on everyday objects, but perhaps we can – in a more metaphysical sense. We are both ordinary and extraordinary, until observing the system forces the system to collapse and forces the object into just one of those possible states.
Or perhaps there is just two type of people as Murakami writes in “A Wild Sheep Chase”: “Now people can generally be classified into two groups: the mediocre realist and the mediocre dreamers.” (page 180)
But then what would I know, “It’s an illusion that we know anything at all.” (page 125)
I love to read a Murakami novel in those in-between places, clinical by nature, like airports and hotel bars – where time is meaningless. Those sort of places I can see Tan painting into something extraordinary.
Even better if I have something warm to sip when I read lines like “In which there is nothing” (page 85). There’s truth in a lot of what he says, especially, “The second whisky is always my favourite.” (page 100).
I may be buying a bottle of Nikka Whisky From the Barrel when I finish this book.