Tony Takitani by Haruki Murakami, 1990
The magic trick:
Unfolding Tony’s story by including the story of three other characters but uniting them all in their fight against loneliness
“Hey,” you’re probably thinking, “I thought this was a week of stories from Italy!”
Well, it is.
But now it’s Friday. We’re done with Italy and moving on to a new feature: Murakami Fridays. I tried to think of a better name. Something clever. Maybe some alliteration. But I failed, so this is what we have. Murakami Fridays. A new Haruki Murakami feature every Friday this month. Let’s go.
“Tony Takitani” is a typically Murakami story. It seems sprawling. It seems unfocused. Characters come and go. But then suddenly you realize it all ties together. And it’s brilliant.
What unites the four characters in this story? Loneliness. Fear and defense, defense and fear. The specifics differ for each, but the fight against loneliness is universal. And that’s quite a trick on Murakami’s part.
By marrying her, Tony Takitani brought the lonely period of his life to an end. When he awoke in the morning, the first thing he did was look for her. When he found her sleeping next to him, he felt relief. When she wasn’t there, he felt anxious and searched the house for her. There was something odd for him about not feeling lonely. The very fact that he had ceased to be lonely caused him to fear the possibility of becoming lonely again. The question haunted him: What would he do? Sometimes this fear would make him break out in a cold sweat. As he became used to his new life, though, and the possibility of his wife’s suddenly disappearing seemed to lessen, the anxiety gradually eased. In the end, he settled down and wrapped himself in his new and peaceful happiness.
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