Reality/Dream/Metaphor [Open Thread]

I’m back! I’ll be posting a bunch of photos later, but I have about 200 to sort though, so it won’t happen immediately. Maybe I’ll post in batches based on location…
Meanwhile, a long-overdue media update:
Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose: I actually finished this before I left, while I was stuck at home with that fever. It was a worthy continuation of the first episode, with mostly positive tweaks to the combat system and a hugely superior approach to the mechanized combat (although the original Xenogears still did a better job at that). The end of the game managed to resolve most of the open story threads and still leave me shouting for the next episode. Bastards. Fortunately there’s a bunch of extra stuff in the endgame, some interesting and some insanely tedious.
Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore: Another amazing book from Murakami, this one is probably my favorite behind The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The plot follows two parallel and interconnected stories: the journey of a 15-year-old runaway and the mysterious quest of an old man who can talk to cats. Any detailed plot summary I could give would be woefully inadequate—the real magic in a Murakami novel is the way reality and dream and metaphor all blend together and are equally true, and this is not an easy thing to condense into a paragraph. This one visits some of the same alternate-world territory as Sputnik Sweetheart, and some of the meditations on solitude that were a major theme in Wind-Up Bird.
I always seem to read Murakami when I’m traveling, which just feels appropriate for some reason.
Mercury Rev: The Secret Migration: Sometimes I’m sold on an album after listening to just the first track—The New Romance was like that, and so was The Secret Migration with “Secret for a Song”. The song that’s really been growing on me, though, is “Vermillion”. The album as a whole has a kind of psychedelic fantasy aesthetic; the only thing I can think of to compare it to is the decor in a “coffee shop” I visited in Amsterdam, but this is probably not too helpful. Aside from this the band sounds similar to the Flaming Lips, but if you know the Flaming Lips you probably know Mercury Rev anyway.

2 thoughts on “Reality/Dream/Metaphor [Open Thread]

  1. phi

    kafka on the shore! i’m 200 pages in and Immersed. i read the wind-up bird chronicle mostly on the flight to new zealand… and you’re right, – murakami belongs to timezoneless hours – it fits..

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    Excellent. I was about 250 pages into Kafka when I got to Italy—and I realized that I hadn’t brought any other books. I resolved to put it aside for two weeks so I’d have something to read on the way home… this was very difficult. :)

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