Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Some go to the ranch, others to the shore.

So Dubya retreats to his non-working ranch for the 50th time in his administration. Do you know how this makes me feel? Amongst other things, envious, damnit! We've been trying to find a little vacation getaway for a while now. Where's my non-working rancheria?

Oh well, until we do find it, I can always escape into a good book. For someone who loves escapism, it's classically paradoxical that Bush doesn't like to read. And it makes me wonder how he ever got with a librarian/teacher in the first place? Actually, the relationship is probably more telling about Laura.

I'm currently into the latest from Haruki Murakami - "Kafka On The Shore." Inspired by the title, I headed down the San Mateo coast, to read on the beach yesterday. No, I don't presume to having anything in common with Kafka; although a little self-deprecation never hurt anyone ;-).

(Aside: An urban dweller back east is contemplating moving out here. I recently wrote him a long missive, touting the SF Bay Area lifestyle. Only now I realize I completely ignored mentioning the incomparable natural splendor of this place. Apparently, it's too easy to take for granted. What is wrong with me?)

Some pics, to ease the guilt:


My secret beach.


Runaway from the Xmas tree farm.


Peek-a-boo blue.


Heaven is a public place.


dork.

Anyway, while sitting on the shore, soaking up the sun and dream-like prose, I began to wonder about how true the translation is for this latest work. The first one hundred pages, or so, read well enough. But I began to feel there was something absent. Where was the sense that I was reading profound truisms; presented with his normally impeccable clarity and purpose? Murakami's stories are always brilliantly imaginative, but they are also deeply philosophical.

Of course, I was only being setup for an extraordinary payoff. Patience, dear reader... Murakami-san is on the case.

In Chapter 16 is a little metaphorical vignette (no spoilers), which dramatically encapsulates the essence of war and those who make it. At first, the passage is highly disturbing (true to the underlying subject matter). However, by the end, I could only gasp in awe at the utter perfection of his insight. Only a third of the way into the novel and Murakami has already given me a terribly true gift. What an amazing writer.

This novel won't be on Bush's summer reading list. Such a pity, for us all. Especially for the latest 14 who bought the farm yesterday. For them, no more ranch holidays, no more escapism.

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