18 thoughts on “First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami

  1. CREAM

    “From the arbor, there was a panoramic view of the harbor.”

    A truly compelling short work for two readers to read simultaneously, one ideally being old (“Sixty, seventy — what was the difference?”) and hard of breathing in this day and age of lung lurgy, I guess, and the other a young and naïve if intelligent enough, if not too lazy, to do math at university, both, as a synergy, revealing the cream of all revelations from the mystery of circles without centres or circumferences… a revelation only possible as generated by such disarmingly oblique literature… transferred dual hysteria of mis-breathing and a bouquet of red flowers too expensive to throw away (could be used to give to a pianist after finishing her recital).
    …simple, puzzling, but fruitful.

    Complete list of Mozart works for a four-handed piano…
    Sonata in C major, K. 19d (1765) not Nannerl
    Sonata in B flat major, K. 358/186c (1773–74)
    Sonata in D major, K. 381/123a (1773–74)
    Fugue in G minor, K. 401/375e (1773) (adapted for four hands)*
    Sonata in F major, K. 497 (1786)
    Andante and Variations in G major, K. 501 (1786)
    Sonata in C major, K. 521 (1787)

    *judging by the text’s description, this is the most likely work featured in the story’s backstory.
    I shall now hope to listen to it on Spotify. And work out any math significance in the K numbers.

  2. Pingback: Singularity Pluralised | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  3. Cream that grew grey and solidified…

    ON A STONE PILLOW

    The mystery of “the space between sadness and happiness” or between Jupiter and Saturn, 42 poems as the oblique answer to everything, the universe, life, in a limited edition stitched book numbered 28, each poem with 31 syllables in a single line, or did I read that last bit elsewhere? The chance moment here, her teeth marks in a towel on the point of coming, man with this woman passing through the nothingness of a one-night fling, an empty circle without a circumference. Yet, ironically, what words are forgotten about this fling are solidified here, by dint or dent of its cream of the cream author and his translator, on the white pages here, pages in a book with a cream monkey on the dust jacket. My son had a Tonka toy lorry when he was small; a memory I have just been impelled to review… The imperilling of real-time’s Gestalt.
    Me, by another name screamed in the middle of the night. Singularity pluralised.

    “Even memory, though, can hardly be relied on. Can anyone say for certain what really happened to us back then.”

  4. CHARLIE PARKER PLAYS BOSSA NOVA

    “Nor was I having some super-realistic dream.”

    A charming and compelling (coffee aroma-filled) premonition of today’s Co-Vivid Dream, stemming from an article in a college magazine by the then young first-person singular narrator about the above eponymous album, his article even including a song-list the first song title on which list will now be considered Parker’s masterpiece song, an album that could not possibly have existed since Parker died in 1955 at the age of 34.
    FROM a discovery in a record shop of this very album years later (where the narrator is convinced he is not dreaming some super-realistic dream and the record is in reality a hoax, one that he fails to buy (much to his later regret)), TO another dream (that he simply knows this time is a palimpsest to the previous ‘non-dream’ and is indeed a real dream, i.e.. “When I’m dreaming I know for certain – This is a dream.) in which real dream Parker himself appears and thanks him for making it possible for Parker bringing out such an album after Parker’s death and Parker plays for him the first song title Corcovado, if not Coffee, Covfefe Covid or Corona.
    As I say, a charming and compelling Murakami work, whereby one also receives tantalising clues from Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto as we did earlier from a Mozart dual-handed, dual-interpreted sonata on a single piano.
    A dream of sleeping with one’s head on a stone pillow.
    The empty space between two dreams.

  5. Pingback: The first singular photo where you can see all four Xs at once | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  6. WITH THE BEATLES

    “The death of a dream can be, in a way, sadder than that of a living being.”

    In many ways, here, the death somehow happens to a singularity of both the living being and the living narrator’s residual dream of her, thus perhaps leapfrogging memory itself. But first, please let me tell you although I started collecting pop records in 1961 when I was first a teenager, I also later collected most of the Beatles’ hits mentioned here including the eponymous album. It was only later, in contradistinction with the narrator’s overlapping, that I became impassioned with ‘classical music’ modern and old — while jazz was never really one of my things. And easy listening never was! Such as The Sound of Music! The chance meeting, meanwhile, with the other man in this story (the older brother of the ‘dream’) and his talk of memory lapses and the narrator’s reading him a short airplane story the plot of which ended in sleeping, hoping to be strangled in such sleep. Leapfrogging a memory of Mozart as well as memory itself. The two words Mozart and Memory leading to possible merging as an assonance with the word for the cream animal on the front dust-jacket? And the numerous references to ‘coffee’ as a literary syndrome of meaningful encounter that I have also met, with equal significance, in two other recent or even concurrent real-time reviews of books, one called Death’s Dark Abyss and the other The Secret in Their Eyes. This is the perfect story in quality and thoughtfulness and lingering aftermath, thus subsuming what its ulterior gestalt would have evolved into if there had been taken into account the bits of text that I may have just leapfrogged in real-time. [Question: what indications are there in his review that the reviewer has completely misunderstood this story?]

    “…like the core of all dreams…”

  7. Who doesn’t think of bone-wielding monkey men when they hear the opening notes of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra?
    — from internet

    CONFESSIONS OF A SHINAGAWA MONKEY

    “Or maybe what I had seen was a long, strange, realistic dream.”

    When this story — unforgettable beyond any risk of the previous story’s memory losses or of similar such lapses that, within this story itself, beset the women with whom its eponymous monkey falls in love — becomes as famous as this story is likely to do, most of its reading enthusiasts may well become hung up on the Bruckner references, his seventh symphony in particular being a nod toward the elderly monkey’s maximum limit of loving seven human women about whom it tells the narrator in the hot springs hotel. Or what about Bruckner’s Symphonies numbered 0 and 00 as symbols of loss of personal items as well as the women’s memory loss of their own names?…. Well, if these readers do concentrate on Bruckner, they must also remember that Richard Strauss is explicitly mentioned at least once in the text. As is a ‘coffee lounge’ where the narrator eventually meets perforce a woman who may have brought the total to eight, my own favourite Bruckner symphony.
    A truly wonderful story to have a long hot soak in, one that actually somehow makes you disarmingly believe, with exquisite naivety, in the talking monkey already hiding within it. And as a result of its publication, it is possible that several more women, once they have read it, will understand why they lost, say, their driving licence on the same day that they forgot their own name. Haydn is likely to have enough numbered symphonies to cope, I trust.

  8. Pingback: Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  9. C47D6EAB-6F16-4EC0-B069-6D51FB112A72A few years ago, I edited and published a still in-print anthology of Classical Music Horror Stories, and this morning, just now, I somehow noticed, for the first time, that the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast programme has the blurb ‘Petroc’s Classical Alarm call’…but what sort of pet upon what sort of rock?

    CARNAVAL

    “…as if every possible cause and effect had embraced at the very center of the world.”

    The gestalt of ugliness and beauty, as the narrator meets by chance, in the audience of a Mahler and Prokofiev Classical concert, an ‘ugly ‘ woman and he is fascinated by her and/or by her Classical Music chat over glasses of wine in a concert hall about many named composers (only later does he mention another unattractive woman he once met when he was younger at college where their chosen drink was coffee and the chat was jazz.)
    A gestalt of what lies under all our masks, good and evil, Classical and Romantic, obsession and eclecticism, craziness and genius, VD and VR, respectability and hidden fraud, horror and its counterpart catharsis, all involving a specific decision between Schubert piano sonatas (my choice against any other music) and Schumann, particularly the latter’s more loosely whimsical CARNAVAL, and the metaphorical monkeys, shaggy or golden-haired, upon women’s backs. (What do women see on men’s backs, I ask.) A premonition of our times filtered through the accreting gestalt of this book so far…its thoughtful simple beauty, its ability sometimes to crack its knuckles.

    “Pursued by endless horrific nightmares,…”

  10. 8A86C63D-B7C6-465F-B97F-BBEFC8CE12C6 THE YAKULT SWALLOWS POETRY COLLECTION

    “And real-life wisdom arises not so much from knowing how we might beat someone as from learning how to accept defeat with grace.”

    A story about a character called Haruki Murakami, who was, when younger, a fan of the eponymous Swallows baseball team, where their sparse watching crowds have always seemed to socially-distance! It was a generally losing team that he persevered in cheering on, an activity connected directly or indirectly with his then relationship to his father and mother, 51AC2F7F-BBCD-4E88-B537-B5462640AFBF and with the start of his writing career by means of a self-published poetry collection that matter-of-factly dealt with this baseball team and, often, the players’ butts. Judging by reading them here. Cure by ingestion of creamy bacteria? And then it refers to his launch as a novelist much like an earlier random ball effortlessly and fatefully plopping into his lap. One of two collector.’s items, one now lost. Much of all this went above my head, not catching anything, not even in an empty Cage. The ball’s dying fall took way way longer than 4 minutes to descend, anyway. No divine revelation for the likes of me. I accept defeat with grace. Dark beer is always fine. Even cream stout.

  11. FIRST PERSON SINGULAR

    “I even know who was older — Bartók or Stravinsky. (I doubt few other people do.)”

    Who was strictly older when contemporaries in real time, or who died older and thus achieved more years of life? I am not sure which of my Proustian selves is asking this question. The character’s above boast, by the way, is as if from the first person singular narrator who, in a cocktail bar, wonders which first person singular person he actually is. When his wife is out, he often dresses surreptitiously and guiltily in smart suits and ties (ties with neatly practised knots), and he does, in fact, end up at the end in a dark horror world that Ligotti (ligotti = knots) might have written about with similar skilful evocation.
    When dressed in such a garb, the uncertain narrator takes continued advantage of his wife being out to abscond to the cocktail bar where he is accosted by a woman who seems to know him from meeting him at some ‘shore’, and also seems to have some serious grudge against him on behalf of another woman, much to his bemusement. She states, with Kafka’s disarmingness, that she believes he should be ashamed of himself, including ashamed about his sitting there in such a garb reading a put-downable mystery novel by an otherwise favourite author of his while drinking a (vodka) gimlet. She deems his tie being one of many “forgettable ties”.

    “I’ve never liked giving up on a book once I’ve started it.”

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