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Kafka On The Shore


"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary."
- Nassim Taleb 

When you read fiction, you come across two kinds of stories. One kind that plays to your logical side where there is a definitive plot that your logical brain cannot see loopholes through and forms a coherent chronology of events with causes and effects that can end up being a page-turner or tell you a feel-good story or have an unconventional storyline.

The other kind plays to your imaginative side by not having a definitive plot, with effects whose causes may or may not be determined, allowing you to make what you want out of the events pieced together forming a story. For such stories, there is a thin line between going horribly wrong by presenting gibberish and seeming like art letting you bring your own meaning to the words and characters and the events described.

I recently read Kafka on the Shore by Murakami which is a book of the latter kind and I tend to think it falls slightly on the art side of the line. Reading a large part of the book during my recent transit at the Moscow airport with hours and hours of time on my hand to do nothing but contemplate what I was reading may have pushed me to think what I do about the book.

Just before reading this, I had read another book by Murakami, Norwegian Wood. That is a simple and straight forward (in the logical plot sense) story about a boy and a girl. Contrasting the two plots, I felt Murakami was a bit like Louis CK. Louis CK shot up from obscurity just a few years ago to one of the most popular comedians today, and he did it by throwing out all his material after a great show and starting all over again.

Incremental doesn't get you places, but keeps you at the place you've got to until something disrupts your seat, dislodging you. But starting from scratch once you get to a place will let you go places again, but at the expense of possibly not doing so. It's either this or addiction to a monthly salary.

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