Monday, 5 December 2011

Choice Words - Haruki Murakami's After Dark

"Eyes mark the shape of the city.

Through the eyes of a high-flying night bird, we take in the scene from midair. In our broad sweep, the city looks like a single gigantic creature - or more likely a single collective entity created by intertwining organisms. Countless arteries stretch to the end of its elusive body, circulating a continuous supply of fresh blood cells, sending out new data and collecting the old, sending out new consumables and collecting the old, sending out new contradictions and collecting the old. To the rhythm of its pulsing, all parts of the body flicker and flare up and squirm. Midnight is approaching, and while the peak of activity has passed, the basal metabolism that maintains life continues undiminished, producing the basso continuo of the city's moans, a monotonous sound that neither rises nor falls but is pregnant with foreboding."

And that's after it has been through the translator. It's a testament to both Murakami and the translator Jay Rubin that this retains such descriptive power.

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