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Author Murakami sends message to Boston bombing victims

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ben4short: "...who can't even summon forth any interesting comments/observations/insights into a sport and city he claims to so dearly love."

I guess you missed the part where he lived in and around Boston for a number of years, and has run the marathon 6 times. How long have you lived there and how many times have you run it? So then do you have any more right to be upset about what's happened, ben, than a person who has been there and loves the area and the race?

The man's not doing it for publicity.

"Take away Murakami's absurd, fanciful, crazy bag of tricks, and you're left with nothing more than a very mediocre writer bereft of both emotional depth and originality, as seen by this humdrum marathon piece."

Obviously given sales and his international popularity you are quite wrong.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

He's a good man is Mr. Murakami. And I for one reckon he's a decent writer - although I know that opinion seems controversial. Looking forward to his new read.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

We don't really know HOW this commentary piece got into the New York magazine, so best to wait before we crticize. It was not a PR stunt that is for sure. Most likely, the editors at the New Yorker, all Harvard grads who know Boston well, and who have published HM's short stories in the New York for a long long time, ASKED him by reaching out to him if he, as a Japanese who ran the Boston M a few years, 6 in all, had anything he might want to say. So it was a commissioned piece, not something he wrote and tried to place there as a PR stunt. He meant well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ben4short, did you read the original article in Japanese?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ben4short: "Smitty, as usual you cherry-pick details and totally miss the point."

Not only did I not cherry pick, but I completely got the point of your message -- you are attacking the man, and not his message. Or do things like "he has nothing upstairs", or "bag of tricks" indicate some sort of ill-intent on the part of the man's message?

If you don't like the man's writing, fine -- all the power to you. But it's clear he is very popular, and well respected, and I don't think him sending a message of compassion is grounds for you to attack what you do not like about him.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ben4short

Agreed. I have no doubt people who were involved in the Boston bombing appreciate your meaningless rant on JT than Murakami issuing sincere message.

"he is the most overrated writer alive today'

Then why don't you publish a book yourself? He is a successful writer, millionaire. And who are you ?

And how do you judge his writing when you can't even read Japanese LOL

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I personally haven't been able to get into Murakami, even reading in the original. But I see no reason to hate him. Are the ppl putting him down just jealous? Have they tried reading it in the original?

Anyway, famous ppl do publicity stunts to get more popular, sure. WHat's reported here doesn't really seem like a pr stunt, tho. He seems genuinely saddened by what happened. Altho I haven't read the New Yorker.

I personally grew up in New England, only a few hrs away from Boston. Tho it was much smaller scale on many levels, the bombing in Boston really affected me more than what happened in NY on 9-11. Because it is home. I really worried that things would change and ppl would change because of it. It made me sad, and also the (over) reaction afterward with lock-downs and military humvees patrolling. Like any long-term foreigner here, I've experienced all kinds of alienation and humiliation here in Japan along with the good times. I am only happy when I hear Japanese speak on a personal connection to another country and make a personal statement like this. Murakami doesn't mean that much to me personally, but this kind of statement gives some hope in brotherhood for the human race. His "citizen of the world" thing might sound pretentious (and might be pretentious- I don't know him personally), but I also hear in that a rejection of the Japan-special-island mentality that some jpns have. Like he really wants to be a part of the planet. I only wish that attitude were more common here in Japan. His writing (in the article)-- I wouldn't want to be judged on something I wrote in Japanese. I am sometimes told I sound like a normal Japanese, but I know it is just much much harder to sound natural or "hit home" in your second language, especially when not talking to someone in front of your face, but writing and for an anonymous audience.

In short- maybe this time judge Murakami's words for just being a statement of his feelings on the events.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Criticise the translator till you read the original then comment

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ben4short: "So no, I am not attacking HIM, per se. I am simply commenting on his lack of writing ability, and making the comment that he is the most overrated writer alive today. "

Yeah, no, you're not attacking him at all. :)

"Furthermore, I have published two books myself, through a reputable NY house, for your information."

So it's just jealousy, then?

"I dare say that my Japanese is far better than your English."

I suppose you're not attacking Hide with this, either?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Readers, that ends the bickering on this thread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sucker

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hide-chan,

Like most others, I shed more than a few tears over the Boston bombing incident and the subsequent stories about the survivors.

Furthermore, I have published two books myself, through a reputable NY house, for your information.

And finally, I never said I cannot read Japanese; only that I have not read Murakami's piece in the original. With 35 years in Japan as a writer/translator, I dare say that my Japanese is far better than your English.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Well, I'm sure the people of Boston feel better now that they've received this transmission from the Japanese writer in "self-imposed" exile. Seriously, what a db. "Citizen of the World"? Pfffffffft. Just because he's popular doesn't mean he's any good; otherwise Rowling would rank up there with Milton.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@kickboard, cwhite, et al

No, I have not read the original Japanese but so what? I don't have to read Flaubert in French or Tolstoy in Russian to understand the depth of their humanity and the boundless scope of their minds. A tired irrelevant argument best left in the trash where it belongs.

@Egg Man

More lack of understanding about publishing/writing. Whether Murakami wrote the piece on spec or commission is again totally irrelevant. In a mag as prestigious as the NYer, any writer with a byline is going to give his essay his best shot, and then some. If this sentimental, shallow piece is Murakami's best, far below the standards of crisp, witty, interesting and intelligent writing the NYer is known for, well, it's a sad day for the mag and a day when Murakami showed the world his true mediocrity.

@smithinjapan

Man, don't you ever get tired of being wrong? I have never met the golden prince M-sama and have absolutely no reason to dislike him. So no, I am not attacking HIM, per se. I am simply commenting on his lack of writing ability, and making the comment that he is the most overrated writer alive today. All this nonsense every year about the Nobel . . . and then you see this lightweight piece in the NYer, the expected POV, the expected sentiments, the expected cliches . . . heck, I could have written a better piece than this and I hate running and have never lived in Boston. To Smitty and all the other good-enoughs out there, I'd ask you to read some brilliant essays, translated or not, and see how deep, beautiful writing from a writer with a boundless heart can inspire and carry you to great heights. Murakami's prose and insights read like a flat tire.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Smitty, as usual you cherry-pick details and totally miss the point. No I have never run the BM, nor have I lived in Boston, but yet I grieved as deeply as the rest of the world over this horrific act. My grief vs. Murakami's grief is not the point. The point is the piece he wrote in the NYer, which I have carefully read twice. His writing is flat, sentimental, cliched and lacking the least bit of gravitas one would expect of a writer of his standing. Which only proves that his "standing" is misplaced. I don't think he wrote this piece for publicity. He tried to writer an honest piece, but he is just not equipped upstairs to penetrate to any level of depth and interest . . that's all. As for sales, well that's a no-brainer. Since when have bestsellers have been any indication of talent? The words Nobel and Murakami in the same sentence made me laugh. And this lackluster piece is further proof of that.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Further proof, if any was ever needed, that Murakami remains a grossly overrated writer who can't even summon forth any interesting comments/observations/insights into a sport and city he claims to so dearly love.

Take away Murakami's absurd, fanciful, crazy bag of tricks, and you're left with nothing more than a very mediocre writer bereft of both emotional depth and originality, as seen by this humdrum marathon piece.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

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