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Everyman

Since I’ve become a big fan of author Haruki Murakami and sometimes, he can go big on fantasies, so I’d browse around on the web and learn more about its themes and his writing style. I saw this article and thought it was a nice analysis of his writing style and the protagonist he tends to put in his books.

Haruki Murakami resembles Mishima mainly by virtue of being Japanese, and after that the affinities get pretty tenuous. Mishima was one of literature’s great romantics, a tragedian with a heroic sensibility, an intellectual, an esthete, a man steeped in Western letters who toward the end of his life became a militant Japanese nationalist.

Even when he’s writing about relatively fantastic subjects, like spirit possession in sheep, Haruki Murakami’s sensibility is that, I think, of a skeptical realist. His narrator is inevitably Everyman, contemporary Tokyo edition, a kind of thirtyish urban male in a low-key, white-collar job, like advertising or public relations, a somewhat passive fellow who doesn’t expect much out of life and who takes what comes to him with jaded equanimity.

His motto might be “No big deal” — Like most Japanese, the typical Murakami protagonist believes himself to be a man of the middle, a product of, to quote from Mr. Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood, “a regular workaday family, not especially rich, not especially poor. A real run-of-the-mill house, small yard, Toyota Corolla.”

That sounds a lot like me. I go to work everyday, earn my paychecks. I try to work out daily and play golf. I have my beers at night, read some books, and dream of becoming a F1 driver or a Porsche 911 owner. Acura NSX too. Repeat thought cycle the next day and next that. I’d say that’s pretty mediocre life.

A Dialogue Between Jay McInerney and Haruki Murakami
The New York Times Book Review, September 27, 1992

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