Ryu Murakami Almost Transparent Blue

ISBN 13: 9784770029041

Almost Transparent Blue

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9784770029041: Almost Transparent Blue

Almost Transparent Blue is a brutal tale of lost youth in a Japanese port town close to an American military base. Murakami?s image-intensive narrative paints a portrait of a group of friends locked in a destructive cycle of sex, drugs and rock?n?roll. The novel is all but plotless, but the raw and often violent prose takes us on a rollercoaster ride through reality and hallucination, highs and lows, in which the characters and their experiences come vividly to life. Trapped in passivity, they gain neither passion nor pleasure from their adventures. Yet out of the alienation, boredom and underlying rage and grief emerges a strangely quiet and almost equally shocking beauty. Ryu Murakami?s first novel, Almost Transparent Blue won the coveted Akutagawa literary prize and became an instant bestseller. Representing a sharp and conscious turning away from the introspective trend of postwar Japanese literature, it polarized critics and public alike and soon attracted international attention as an alternative view of modern Japan.

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About the Author:


RYU MURAKAMI was born in 1952. The only son of schoolteacher parents, he grew up in the port city of Sasebo in southwestern Japan. After graduating from a local high school, where he played the drums in a band called Coelacanth, he went to an art college in Tokyo. It was while studying there that he entered his first novel, Almost Transparent Blue, in a competition for new writers. Published in 1976, the book won a major literary award and sold over a million copies. Since then, he has worked for a publishing house, presented a weekly music and interview radio program, and hosted a TV talk show. His literary output includes two collections of stories Run, Takahashi (1985) and Topaz (1988), and the novel Coin Locker Babies (1980), which made its debut in English early in 1995. His roman a clef 69 appeared in English in 1993. He has also directed four movies based on his writing, causing a sensation at an Italian film festival when Tokyo Decadence was shown there in 1992. His latest film is set in the U.S. and Cuba.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

I took a fragment of glass about the size of my thumbnail out of my pocket and wiped the blood off it. The little fragment with its smooth hollow reflected the brightening sky. Under the sky stretched the hospital and far away the tree-lined street and the town. The horizon of the shadowy reflected town made a delicate curving line. Its curves were the same, the same as the time I'd almost killed Lilly on the runway in the rain, that white curved line that burned for an instant with the thunder. Like the wave-filled foggy horizon of the sea, like a woman's white arm, a gentle curve.

All the time, since I didn't know when, I'd been surrounded by this whitish curving.

The fragment of glass with the blood on its edge, as it soaked up the dawn air, was almost transparent.

It was a boundless blue, almost transparent. I stood up, and as I walked toward my own apartment, I thought, I want to become like this glass. And then I want to reflect this smooth white curving myself. I want to show other people these splendid curves reflected in me.

The edge of the sky blurred with light, and the fragment of glass soon clouded over. When I heard the songs of birds, there was nothing reflected in the glass, nothing at all.

Beside the poplar in front of the apartment lay the pineapple I'd thrown out yesterday. From its moist cut end there still drifted the same smell.

I crouched down on the ground and waited for the birds.

If the birds dance down and the warm light reaches here, I guess my long shadow will stretch over the gray birds and the pineapple and cover them.

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