Monday, March 15, 2010

A Wild Sheep Chase

I'm slowly re-reading Murakami's entire collection and realizing the first time through and in some cases even the third time around I've missed entire gems of passages. This is just one of the many reasons I love his quirky mixture of surrealist pulp-style fiction.

-Excerpt from A Wild Sheep Chase, the chapter "Wherefore the Worm Universe:

There are symbolic dreams - dreams that symbolize some reality. Then there are symbolic realities - realities that symbolize a dream. Symbols are what you might call the honorary town councillors of the worm universe. In the worm universe, there is nothing unusual about a dairy cow seeking a pair of pliers. A cow is bound to get her pliers sometime. It has nothing to do with me.

Yet the fact that the cow chose me to obtain her pliers changes everything. This plunges me into a whole universe of alternative considerations. And in this universe of alternative considerations, the major problem is that everything becomes protracted and complex. I ask the cow, "Why do you want the pliers?" And the cow answers, "I'm really hungry." So I ask, "Why do you need pliers if you're hungry?" The cow answers, "To attach them to the branches of the peach tree." I ask, "Why a peach tree?" To which the cow replies, "Well that's why I traded away my fan, isn't it?" And so on and so forth. The thing is never resolved, I begin to resent the cow, and the cow to resent me. That's a worm's eye view of its universe. The only way to get out of that worm universe is to dream another symbolic dream.

There's something attractive about even a literary black sheep.

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