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Bookmaker favors Murakami for Nobel prize -- again

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Is he really that good?

I tried a couple of his books, but couldn't get very far in. It just seemed bland and rather thin. I don't usually give up on books w/o going to the end. But since I did give up on him, I can't say one way or another about him.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

hidingout: My apologies for a rather rash post -- I did not read yours beyond the first few lines before replying. I don't agree with the 'liberal... bla bla bla' stuff, but it's good to see you admit he deserves the Nobel. He'll get it in time, regardless of the naysayers.

mataka: "What a complete joke. Talk about lowering the bar!"

Compared to what? Show me a Japanese author who has more international sway and popularity than Murakami. The media here largely dislike him because he doesn't kowtow to the usual sell-out routine (international fame means you MUST appear in variety shows, muzak, SMA X SMA, coffee ads, etc.). He turns down any and all such interviews, and is as such chided by the media here, and it seems you've bought into it. In my books that gives him even more respect, and is even more proof that the man is more international than a lot of celebrities here, and deserving of such a prize on top of the obvious popularity and wonderful things he's written.

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What a complete joke. Talk about lowering the bar!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

hidingout: I know full well what he said, and it is only "Anti-Israel" and "pro-Palestinian" for those who believe in keeping a people repressed. I'm guessing your an American and Republican.

pochan: "Fair point mate, a little more true. Not having a dig, actually really appreciated your comment"

As I appreciated yours, thank you. I didn't take it as a dig at all, either -- but a rather poigniant point. Pretty good allusions, too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But it rings a little more true with literature than fast food and pop-music

Fair point mate, a little more true. Not having a dig, actually really appreciated your comment

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Like what, his anti-war comments in Israel?

Well yes, for one. And they weren't so much "anti-war"m comments as they were pro-palestinian" comments - delivered in Jerusalem whilst a guest of the Israeli literary community. He rambled on about being an egg crashing against the wall ffs. It was beneath him - or should have been. His comments about Senkaku were off point as well, and again he resorted to cheap metaphors. He's a pie in the sky liberal of the dreamiest variety. Which may put me off him a bit, but of course has no bearing on his skill as a writer or his candidacy for a Nobel. Like I said above I think he would be a more than worthy recipient.

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pochan: "The Nobel prize for literature is a strange thing when one considers that much of the work is being read by the judges in translation."

A very good point. I truly believe it is best to read a piece of literature in its native tongue, so to speak. That said, reading for me is a hobby, and while I CAN read books in Japanese it feels somewhat more like study than reading. In Murakami's case we have a relatively rare example of a man who can speak and also write in English, and who works very closely with the translators to make sure the translation is relatively sincere. In fact, in one interview (with his may translator Jay Rubin), he said that he sometimes prefers English to Japanese, because it is less 'hard' when it comes to literally expressing oneself. Oe and some have criticized Murakami because he uses 'boku' often for his characters in Japanese instead of 'watakushi'. In English it is simply "I", and "you", casual or not.

"I am sorry but international popularity is no sign of quality, if it was McDonalds would be the finest cuisine in the world."

Zing! True enough. But it rings a little more true with literature than fast food and pop-music, wouldn't you say? and in Murakami's case it happens to be true.

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The Nobel prize for literature is a strange thing when one considers that much of the work is being read by the judges in translation. It must surely be impossible to choose which work has the most literary merit from a translated version and therefore it will always be open to criticism. I really don't think any prizes these days are truly impartial and unfortunately there is always a cultural bias and/or political agenda. Murakami doesn't need a nobel prize to validate his work but I am sure that the Japanese media and education system will use it to salve their own low self esteem and insecurity, I have no doubt it will mean more to them than to the man himself and they will talk about it incessantly. He seems like a beautiful human being with a truly compassionate and gentle soul, he bridges the gap between all of us and understands the universality of the human experience. This man shouldn't be used as a poster boy for Japanese literature as he really does exemplify a higher ideal.

Why else would he be so popular internationally while others are studied strictly in classical literature?

Smith although I appreciate your comments about Murakami this last one left me a bit cold. I am sorry but international popularity is no sign of quality, if it was McDonalds would be the finest cuisine in the world. The Nobel judges are aware of this or they would have given a prize to Jackie Collins.

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hidingout: "Haven't appreciated his political comments over the past few years."

Like what, his anti-war comments in Israel?

irishosaru: "Dear god no, a writer whose characters are paper thin facades. Hos books explore nothing, ask no questions, provoke no thoughts"

Wrong on all counts. Sure, he doesn't write in the classical Japanese style of the always suffering protagonist that made Mishima gut himself in real life, but those are not real characters -- in other words, Murakami's characters are far from paper-thin, they are people that you can relate to. Why else would he be so popular internationally while others are studied strictly in classical literature?

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Dear god no, a writer whose characters are paper thin facades. Hos books explore nothing, ask no questions, provoke no thoughts.

Not within a million miles of a Nobel prize, please.

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I agree that Murakami deserves the Nobel Prize, and I've been saying that since reading Hard Boiled Wonderland back in the 80's.

That said, I'm a bit off him at the moment. Haven't appreciated his political comments over the past few years. I bought 1Q84 cause, duh, that's what you do when Murakami puts out a new book, but it still sits on my shelf uncracked.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Just give it to him already. He's going to get it in the end. And the guy has done more for Japanese literature world-wide than anyone else, save perhaps a few posthemus haiku poets that no one really reads (I do, but anyone who knows Murakami probably hasn't).

Plus, the guy deserves it. Despite the whinings of traditional writers like Oe and co., or dudes like Mishima who lament the loss of the samurai spirit and off themselves, this guy ACTUALLY connects with people around the globe because he writes in a way that anyone who is human can understand, and many of his works are brilliant and unforgettable.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

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