Ryu Murakami|(村上 龍 Murakami Ryū)| (1952 -) is a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist and filmmaker. Murakami's novels explore human nature through themes of disillusion, drug use, surrealism, murder and war set against the dark backdrop of Japan. His best known novels are Almost Transparent Blue, Coin Locker Babies and In the Miso Soup.
Almost Transparent Blue (1976)
- "Yeah, he'd said, maybe it's just my idea, but really it always hurts, the times it don't hurt is when we just forget, we just forget it hurts, you know, it's not just because my belly's all rotten, everybody always hurts. So when it really starts stabbing me, somehow I feel sort of peaceful, like I'm myself again"
- And just because I've written this book, don't think I've changed. I'm like I was back then, really.
Coin Locker Babies (1980)
- Every one of a hundred thousand cities around the world had its own special sunset and it was worth going there, just once, if only to see the sun go down.
In the Miso Soup (1997)
- Parents, teachers, government - they all teach you how to live the dreary , deadening life of a slave, but nobody teaches you how to live normally.
- People were infected with the concept that happiness was something outside themselves, and a new and powerful form of loneliness was born. Mix loneliness with stress and enervation, and all sorts of madness can occur. Anxiety increases, and in order to obliterate the anxiety, people turn to extreme sex, violence, and even murder.
- Chapter One
- Buying and selling is the basis of all social intercourse, and the commodity an actor or model offered for sale was nothing less than her own being.
- Chapter Two
- "Advertising departments, as you know, are crawling with people whose frontal lobes are so under developed that if you flatter them a bit they'll swear shit is platinum!"
- Chapter Two, Yoshikawa
- But sometimes things happen that no one hopes for. Events that cause everything you've worked towards, the life you've carefully constructed piece by piece, to come tumbling down all around you. No one is to blame, but you're left with a wound you can't heal on your own and can't believe you'll ever learn to accept, so you struggle to escape the pain. Only time can heal wounds as deep as that - a lot of time - and all you can really do is place yourself in its hands and try to consider the passing of each day a victory. You tough it out moment by moment, hour by hour, and after some weeks or months you begin to see signs of recovery. Slowly the wound heals into a scar.
- Chapter Three
- One of the photographs in the magazine caught his eye. A homeless youth in New York City. It was the face of a human being who’d been constructed exclusively of wounds. Not time or history or ambition, nothing but wounds. The face of a person who could probably kill someone without feeling anything whatsoever.
- Chapter Three
- In the old days, things like tropical fish or imported wineglasses weren’t within reach for the average person. Now when you walked down the street you passed shop windows full of the finest quality goods from around the world. Any of these things could be yours if you were willing to sacrifice a little, and many people ended up sacrificing a lot. It’s difficult to control the desire to accumulate things.
- Chapter Five
- In Japan, even when you’re alone, you’re never really that lonely. But the loneliness you feel among people with differently colored skin and eyes, whose language you don’t even speak very well – that sort of loneliness is something you feel down to the marrow of your bones.
- Chapter Five
- “I really did suffer a lot,” she said, “and for a lot longer than I even care to remember. I was sure I’d never find anything to take the place of ballet, and it took all my energy just to get through each day. My parents and my friends all said that time alone would heal the wound, and I guess I knew it was true, but I wished I could hibernate or something, and let time go by without having to suffer through it. But of course the clock just kept slowly ticking away. Tick, tick, tick- like it was chipping away at at me, at my life.“
- Chapter Five, Yoshikawa Asami
- “You have to watch your step with women these days, Pops. She could be involved with Yakuza or something. Even some of the girls in my class -- you should hear the stuff they talk about. Fifteen years old, and there's nothing they don't know. We're not in the age of Peace and Love anymore.”
- Chapter Seven, Shige
- To distort our faces with joy, or wail and weep with sorrow, or collapse in agony, or wallow in sentimentality – wasn’t an inviolable human trait but something we can lose simply by leading dull and dreary lives. ‘A rich emotional life,’ she’d written, ‘is a privilege reserved only for the daring few’.”
- My theory is that sushi and kaiseki are dishes that evolved in peaceful, prosperous times, when eating well was the normal state of affairs. In this country we have the illusion that there's always this warm, loving community we belong to, but the other side of that is a sort of exclusiveness and xenophobia, and our food reflects that.Japanese cuisine isn't inclusive at all-infact it's extremely inhospitable to outsiders, to people who don't fit into the community.
- Chapter Eight
- The young people nowadays – men and women, amateurs and pros – generally fall into one of two categories: either they don’t know what it is that’s most important to them, or they know but don’t have the power to go after it. But this girl’s different. She knows what’s most important to her and she knows how to get it, but she doesn’t let on what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not money, or success, or a normal happy life, or a strong man, or some weird religion, but that’s about all I can tell you. She’s like smoke:you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there. That’s a sort of strength, I suppose. But it makes her hard to figure out.”
- Chapter Eight, Kai
- “Nice person, bad person -- that's not the level this girl is at. I can see you're crazy about her and probably won't be able to hear this, Ao-chan, but I think you'd be better off staying away from someone like her. I can't read her exactly, but I can tell you she's either a saint or a monster. Maybe both extremes at once, but not somewhere in between.”
- Chapter Eight, Kai
- That’s what violence was: emotion leaking out from consciousness into the physical world, linking up with the muscles of the arms and shoulders and diaphragm and, inevitably, the face. Stifle emotion during an act of violence and the face becomes a blank, unreadable mask.
- Chapter Twelve