Saturday, January 28, 2006

Kafka on the shore cont.

I am still reading Kafka on the Shore and unfortunately it has slowed down. I feel the author just wants to slow down and confuse the reader for a while. Also he seems to want to shock the reader with showers of leeches and mackerel in Japan and characters meeting Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders. It is almost as if he is challenging me 'do you really want to read on?'

The plot is still there, somewhere and I am still enjoying it. I am determined to read on and finish, I am also determined to try to make a list of books I want to read and stick to it.

Can anyone tell me why Oshima drives a Mazda Miata, when Miata's are only produced in North America and are known as MX-5's in Japan?

Divine 'condescension'

Picked up a book yesterday on 'The Gospels and the Jesus of History'. Finding the real Jesus in the gospels is one of the mysteries that I am very interested in. Xavier Leon-Dufour makes an interesting case to point out that modern criticism has a very narrow approach to the gospels.

One of the theories that has been proposed is that God had to be condescending to us. There is no way we could understand what he is trying to tell us and he conveyed his message to us in the Bible in a way that we could understand. He adopted our way of thinking in order to help us to understand.

Leon-Dufour also make the same point as George Tyrrell that modern theorists have no right to completely rationalise the Bible. Those that take all the supernatural out of the Bible and doubt everything are simply 'looking down a deep well and seeing a reflection of themselves'.

"If a man claims to have a truly critical mind, then he must not uncritically accept rationalism as an unquestionable dogma; far too many people have done so in the past, and this has paralysed their thinking as soon as they encounter religious facts for which there is no neat rationalist explanation" P.20

It is also quite humourous to think of some grey haired scholar going to heaven and God telling him that the Bible was childrens stories. Just imagine!

Mystery solved!

My apologies to all those who got scared, I was simply playing with my new toy - a flying UFO which has lights and rotates.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Kafka on the Shore

I've been reading 'Kafka on the Shore' the new Murakami book over the past few weeks. This is the first fiction work of his I have read and I am finding it highly enjoyable. Whilst some magical realism leaves me totally confused this story has me obsessed. The secret is I can just about understand it. He hasn't made it completely unaccessible, at least, to a beginner. The story is in two halves, one part about a 15 year old runaway in Japan and the other about an old man - Nagata who speaks to and searches for cats.

Up to now I am about a quarter way through and I love it. Each chapter is delightful, strange, intriguing, charming. I was quite surprised to see mixed reviews of the book on Amazon, I think other people who have read all his books find this one rather poor. I don't understand that. I didn't think I would enjoy it, books with two stories don't normally appeal to me.

In this section, Kafka the runaway is discussing with his friend Oshima the reason he likes to listen to Schubert when he is driving. What he is talking about is why people are attracted to imprefection:

"If the composition's imperfect, why would so many pianists try to master it?
'Good question' Oshima says, and pauses as music fills in the silence 'I have no great explanation for it, but one thing I can say: works that have a certain imperfection to them have an appeal for that very reason - or at least they appeal to certain types of people. Just like you are attracted to Soseki's The Miner. There's something in it that draws you in, more than fully realised novels like Kokoro or Sanshiro. You discover something about that work that tugs at your heart - or maybe we should say that the work discovers you. Schubert's Sonata in D Major is like that."

Saturday, January 14, 2006