Sputnik Sweetheart,

by Haruki Murakami

Dissociative, worsening my somatic symptoms in its cathartic moments, and really relatable. I found myself agreeing with the main character a lot in terms of the exact type of empty loneliness, confused alienation, untetheredness she felt, with all art infused with lack of passion or meaning, and with taking flight from university (hey, I did it twice) or any kind of exhausting normal life, having difficulties with basic care of oneself, being a mess, barely liking anything you create; the descriptions, and characters’ patterns of thinking and emotions, were really precise and realistic, sparkling, hard to be distant from. It read sort of like an obscure telegram diary channel. The inevitable unrequited love of the main characters also spoke to me a lot, filling the whole work with a benign, bittersweet, ethereally melancholic quality. The book calmed me down a lot in nearly-suicidal moods, but also caused some wretchingly painful, nauseating out-of-body full immersion, making my mind feel even more inflamed than usual. I think it’s Murakami’s best yet out of all I’ve read. It felt intensely pleasant to concentrate on reading this, and was cozy and inspiring to see someone writing about the things you are obligated to chew on and refer to in your internal context every single day, but don’t always find quite the right words for.

(I also maintain a little Sumire-themed shrine)

Norwegian Wood,

by Haruki Murakami

The contents being somewhat woundingly close to real-life situations, the book held me captive quite a lot, both causing discomfort and not allowing to pull out of reading it. The state of girl main character wasn’t exactly something I could avoid seeing myself in, especially since I read it in a psychiatric hospital. The distance between people in the book was also familiar, it reminded me a lot of some coldness I have with certain good-acquaintance types, and the book itself often aroused disgust in me, the kind I have towards the aforementioned people for tiny convoluted reasons, making the atmosphere feel chilling, distressing to me, making me feel hostile and every interaction equivalent to being backed into a corner, trapped and having no air left to breathe. I couldn’t say I liked it at all, yet on a more meta-level I think I enjoyed the writing a lot.