Sunday, August 22, 2010

currently reading... stories from Korea & Murakami

in May, while in Vienna, i visited an exhibition from North Korea - which now made me pick up a story collection from Korea. i expected to find stories from both Koreas in it, but the book is only featuring South Korean authors. it's still very interesting, like a guided walk through different levels of a foreign land. and it connects with the previous story collections i read: Yizo Yizo - Stories from South Africa , and Cubanissimo - stories from Cuba - stories from countries in a state of restructuring. which of course also connects to Germany with its history of being split, and having stories and authors from the East and West side, and from exile places.

more cross-connections: this weekend, i received a mail with a link to a New York features about the very exhibition i saw in Vienna. the feature is up here: Sunny Scenes, Direct From Pyongyang. here a quote from the article:

"This is the first time that secretive totalitarian state has sent a large number of its artworks outside its sealed borders.
Until now the country’s cultural proclivities have been known to the outside world primarily through television broadcasts of bizarrely choreographed dancing and gymnastics extravaganzas performed by up to 100,000 adults and children. The Vienna show gives another, somewhat more intimately scaled perspective on the controlled aesthetics of a dystopia where many citizens must scavenge for food and are subject to forced labor, torture and other repressive measures."

i still remember walking through this exhibition - again, it felt like a walk through a very foreign land. stepping out from the rooms, i was left wondering how my life - and how i - would have looked like when i grew up there.... there is a blog note on that day further below, the day also brought some other political/personal reflections: Vienna / Yugoslavia, Korea, Gaza

interesting how the themes these days coincide and spark revisits. just like the Murakami book i brought from the library, to find that i read it before, but not in this version. i think i read it in English, which again isn't the original. i tried to find a note on it in my book archive, and then arrived at this note about Murakami which perfectly fits with the Zen-book my teacher lent me for the summer:

i picked up the Murakami book again. in the chapter i read today, there are some insights into Murakami's way of working. he writes every day. gets up at 4, writes until noon. goes jogging, to keep himself fit. he also does marathons. he writes a novel in a year. and then spends another year doing rewrites. some parts he rewrites 10-15 times. and he makes an interesting comparison between jogging and writing – with a reference to zen: “writing is like jogging. i come to a point when i know that i achieved something that until then, i only tried for all the time. it's like moving through a wall. you simply have to slip through it.”

next to come now: some sunday terrace reading time.


Jessie Carty said...

which murakami are you reading? i want to read more of his fiction (i've read one) but also the non-fiction book he wrote on running. i've never been a runner but i'm intrigued by people who do it, not just out of the need for exercise, but because they come to love it.

Dorothee Lang said...

the book i have from the library is from 1992 -- i just tried to figure out the english title - the original starts with "kokkyo". thanks to wiki i now figured it out: "South of the border, west of the sun" it is. i remember this title now, from reading the book in the english version

havn't read his book on running, but read a biography about him: "Haruki Murakami and the music of words” by Jay Rubin. (i read the german version) - Rubin is also his translator. the biography was pretty interesting, that's where the running quote was from.