Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some advice, or a field report from the War on Rest

{Photos by rocketlass.}

If you ever find yourself, after dinner, intending quickly to write about Geoff Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage, which you've just finished, and soon after to get to bed at a reasonable hour, then I recommend that you do not pick up the copy of Sputnik Sweetheart that a friend has just returned, no matter how innocuous it looks lying there on the kitchen counter.

Nor, if you do find yourself going so far as to pick it up, do I recommend thinking to yourself, "I've not read any Murakami for a while," then opening the book and a beer at the same time.

For if you do, I can now tell you from experience, a few hours later you'll read this passage:
I glanced at the full-length mirror as I passed by, at my face reflected in it. A strange expression was on my face. That was my face, all right, but where did that look come from? I didn't feel like retracing my steps and investigating further.

Sumire stood at the entrance to her new place to see me off. She waved goodbye, something she rarely did.

In the end, like so many beautiful promises in our lives, that dinner date never came to be.

Then a few hours after that, when the darkness has driven you from your perch on the back steps and the cicadas have claimed the cemetery next door as their sovereign domain once again until dawn, you'll come to this passage:
In the sky above the summit, the coarse-looking moon loomed awfully near. A hard ball of stone, its skin eaten away by the merciless passage of time. Ominous shadows on its surface were blind cancer cells stretching out feelers toward the warmth of life. The moonlight warped every sound, washed away all meaning, threw every mind into chaos.

Finally, when you close the book, pointedly not looking at the clock, all hope for a reasonable amount of sleep will have long since slunk away, defeated.

In the war on rest, the novel remains a fierce, indefatigable partisan.

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