Murakami Loves His Pasta

by Regina Kenney

Mid-way through my fourth Haruki Murakami book, Kafka On The Shore, and I have noticed something…

Though you could not pin Murakami to one literature genre (Norweigan Wood is a sad, realistic tale about suicide, Hard-Boiled Wonderland at the End of The World is a bizarre , borderline sci-fi and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a surreal masterpiece) you do see many patterns in Murakami’s main characters.

This is a working list, but here are three that I have so-far noticed:

  1. They love regimented exercise (20 push-ups a day, and only 20)
  2. They love Doystvoyesky. (“Ever read The Brothers Karamazov?” I asked.)
  3. They love pasta.

getimageYou’d be hard pressed to find a Murakami book that didn’t have the main character consuming copious amounts of pasta.

In honor of World Pasta Day, here are quotes from Literature’s number one pasta fan:

“Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing.”
― Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

“When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie,’ which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.”
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

“Before I was married, I cooked spaghetti just for myself. It’s a very lonely task, to cook spaghetti for yourself. So I think it’s kind of natural that you think about loneliness when you cook spaghetti for yourself. You know, when you’re making a sandwich for yourself you don’t think about loneliness so much. But when you cook spaghetti, it’s different.”

“A book is good for killing time when you’re cooking spaghetti. Takes only one hand, get it?”
-Wind/Pinball: Two Novels

“Like a lonely, jilted girl throwing old love letters into the fireplace, I tossed one handful of spaghetti after another into the pot.”
― Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

“Maybe the world has two different types of people, and for one kind the world is this completely logical, rice pudding place, and for the other it’s all hit-or-miss macaroni gratin”
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

“I decided to make spaghetti for lunch again. Not that I was the least bit hungry. But I couldn’t just go on sitting on the sofa, waiting for the phone to ring. I had to move my body, to begin working toward some goal. I put water in a pot, turned on the gas, and until it boiled I would make tomato sauce while listening to an FM broadcast. The radio was playing an unaccompanied violin sonata by Bach. The performance itself was excellent, but there was something annoying about it. I didn’t know whether this was the fault of the violinist or of my own present state of mind, but I turned off the music and went on cooking in silence. I heated the olive oil, put garlic in the pan, and added minced onions. When these began to brown, I added the tomatoes that I had chopped and strained. It was good to be cutting things and frying things like this. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I could feel in my hands. I liked the sounds and the smells.”
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle


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