Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Piercing

Ryu Murakami, 1994 [Ralph McCarthy, 2007]
(October 2012)



Funny.

Darkly funny, I believe it's customary to clarify at this point. Tar-black farce; abuse it too much or too often and it’ll leave something malignant festering deep inside, but in a short, concentrated lungful like this it really opens your eyes and gets the blood flowing.

On which note, and bearing in mind my recent confession, eww…

This starts with a deeply disturbed new father holding an ice pick to his baby daughter’s face, and just descends from there. The narrative voice veers between the first, second, and third person as the protagonists connect and damage each other even beyond their pre-existing trauma. All the while misunderstanding themselves and each other in the finest traditions of a Shakespeare or Ealing comedy, but with S&M, hunting knives, and self-harm.

Treat it as a comedy and it’s not just bearable but laugh-out loud funny. Take it seriously and it’s very, very wrong indeed.

“Surely he couldn’t be arrested just for having an ice pick, a knife, and some notes on how to commit a murder…”


6 comments:

  1. I read this ages ago. Yeah, it's pretty dark.

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    1. Yep. In a weird kind of way it reminds me of Jane Austen. If you are prepared for it to be funny then there's lots to laugh at, but if you're not expecting that, then I could see how the humour could get obscured by all the other stuff.

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  2. I read one of this guy's books from the university library years ago, it was about US army (ex maybe) people, heroin, coke (I think,) orgies and how the Japanese guy was the arse-bitch for all of the black men. It was a pretty fucked up book.

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    1. I've read about four of his books, I think, and to be honest those details don't really narrow it down at all ;)

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  3. That would be Almost Transparent Blue.

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    1. Ah, one of the ones I haven't read. Thanks for the spot. Someday I'll get to it, I'm sure...

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