Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 63.4 (Haruki Murakami)

Norwegian Wood by Michael_Kelleher
Norwegian Wood, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.

Murakami, Haruki
Norwegian Wood


Purchased at Talking Leaves…Books. Read by Lori, not by me. In case you are counting, there will be four more entries that begin something like this. So much unread Murakami. If only he'd come to Buffalo, I could read all of these books and append a correction to each entry. He has yet to respond. Stay tuned.

I can remember learning how to play "Norwegian Wood" on the guitar when I was in college. Funny thing was I never learned the lyrics. I still don't know the lyrics, in fact, but I'd bet I could figure out the song on the guitar again without too much trouble.

I and a lot of my friends used to play and sing at a little campus coffee house at Fordham. Next to Bob Dylan, I'd say the Beatles were the most covered songwriters. Dylan was fun to sing, but you didn't need much skill to play his songs on guitar, and they were mostly uninteresting and repetitive (musically, that is).

The Beatles, on the other hand, wrote amazingly inventive chord progressions for the acoustic guitar. "Norwegian Wood," "Blackbird," "Dear Prudence," et al, are such apparently simple songs, yet the guitar work on all of them is exquisite and difficult to learn. I was always proud of myself after learning how to play a Beatles song.

This is why I have always been a George man.

from Norwegian Wood

Folding her arms and closing her eyes, Hatsumi sank back into the corner of the seat. Her small gold earrings caught the light as the taxi swayed. Her midnight blue dress seemed to have been made to match the darkness of the cab. Every now and then her thinly daubed, beautifully formed lips would quiver slightly as if she had caught herself on the verge of talking to herself. Watching her, I could see why Nagasawa had chosen her as his special companion. There were any number of women more beautiful than Hatsumi, and Nagasawa could have made any of them his. But Hatsumi had some quality that could send a tremor through your heart. It was nothing forceful. The power she exerted was a subtle thing, but it called forth deep resonances. I watched her all the way to Shibuya, and wondered, without ever finding an answer, what this emotional reverberation that I was feeling could be.

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