Book reviews Critiques littéraires Books recently published in english and french.

mercredi 21 octobre 2009

Haruki Murakami, Sputnik sweetheart,1999

This is not the latest book of Murakami, but one I have just re- read after viewing all these gorgeous Chinese ink paintings at the Brussels exhibitions " Europalia China" ; so I wonder if these crazy characters in these metaphysical novels, are seeking only beauty in their constant searching , or is the quest for literature, as the only important thing in life, the answer.. . Because literature allows one , just like dreams , to touch to the other side ; the other side of everyday life or the material life. ( it is a matter of" crossing the mirror" as the proverbial Alice ) . Obviously, such notions are elusive , this metaphysical angst being the leitmotiv of all Murakami's novels, yet they are without pretention, simple and clear to read since they are sunk in the most everyday life imaginable, and naturally they are obscure to the rational mind , even open to poetical visions… Is this not frightening and leading to inanity , to predictable boredom , o r bad existentialism . Curiously ,not at all.

Here we have 3 lonely characters: The first one is K. the writer-narrator, then Sumire, a crazy sort of hippy , childlike waif, who writes all the time, convinced of the rightness of her quest, and lastly an older woman , Miu, a sophisticated business woman, who hires Samire . All three are like satellites orbiting around, lost in a void , loosely connected : K. falls in love with Sumire who feels no desire for him but falls in love herself with the married and frigid Miu. Love or sexual desire is not working,, no one knows what they are after except a form of solidarity . Both women have had dreams or visions which point to the famous other side of life, the disappearing reality . How can one get out of one's consciousness and have one's personality split in two if this is the only way to reach the true life ?

All three share this obsession but these vain dreams are suddenly shattered : Sumire disappears one night on a Greek island while vacationing with Miu : no one can find her . Is she dead, no one knows, but one day months after, K. receives a phone call in Tokyo : Samire's voice is on the line . We do not know whether she comes back or not. Murakami always leaves loose ends and life continues inexorably ,a long voyage toward an evanescent meaning, not unlike the spiritual solitude of these Chinese scrolls displaying monumental mountains in empty skies, with one single flying bird.


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Brussels, Belgium
Née à Bruxelles, mère résistante et sculpteur, père homme d’affaires, études à l ’Université libre de Bruxelles ( Philosophie et Lettres ; arts primitifs), puis à Harvard ( anthropologie), Rutgers New Brunswick, Duke University .N.C. USA ( littérature comparée, Masters et Doctorat.) Thèse publiée (Ph.D) sur Valéry et Mallarmé. Enseignement universitaire aux USA, en France (Aix en Provence) et au Liban (comme coopérant) ,littérature et philosophie , en français ou anglais. Mariée en premières noces à un avocat américain G.Robert Wills et puis à un peintre et publiciste Français, Jean- Pierre Rhein (décédé). La plupart des publications sous le nom de Wills.Vit à Bruxelles.