Saturday, February 06, 2010

reading Paul Bowles on my patio, and Kenzaburō Ōe before yoga and the in kitchen

i have read a couple of Japanese authors
some books i got as gifts from my friend Lisa
[post from May 2006, about an e-mail from her on Japanese authors]
and some i got myself

so I've read the elegant and superb Yukio Mishima,
the visual strangeness and symbolism of Kōbō Abe's
The Kangaroo Notebook...
the story of a man who sprouted radishes on his shins
to later travel on his hospital bed accompanied by a vampire nurse
and other surreal characters to even more surreal places
yes! it is a very strange book...

but also, I've been delighted and thankful for having spent many hours
entertained by the postmodernism of masterful Haruki Murakami
with his collections of short stories,
the Rat's appearances in A Wild Sheep Chase, and
the adventures of tormented teenager Kafka
and mister Nakata and his friends the cats on
Kafka on the Shore

and now i finally read another famous Japanese author
Kenzaburō Ōe,
i read 2 short stories
Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, and
Aghwee The Sky Monster
another gift from Lisa too
the stories are both a mixture of reality and imagination
images and sentences that leave you after reading
a similar sensation to having waked up from a
visually overcharged strange dream

so Ōe, what i've been reading when i arrive
early to the Yoga studio, but also in my kitchen
while waiting for the water to boil for tea

these surreal visions that drip into everyday reality
seem to be a common theme in modern Japanese literature
along with references to the Western World reliquaries
like the pork noodles in broth accompanied by a Pepsi-Cola
that the fat man and his mentally challenged son Mori
share in the tale of Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness
or the reference to Jimmy Stewart and his gigantic
bunny character Harvey in Aghwee The Sky Monster...
yet... every single Japanese author voice
is radically different from the others
you could not confuse even for a sentence
the words of Murakami, with Abe, or Ōe
even if being all so modernly Japanese...

but then after getting some e-remainders
about Paul Bowles, and needing a break from
Ōe, last night i decided to use Bowles
as a modern-Japanese-intensity chaser...

reading my used copy of Paul Bowles Collected Stories on my little patio
& chubby mourning dove hanging out on electricity cable, behind

& oh it worked!... I've read a couple of Bowles
the Collected Stories a while ago, when i bought
this pretty copy (i think the covers are made of Canson paper)
only this time I payed more attention
he sounded so much familiar than Ōe!!
but of course, not only the native writing
in English, that in spite of not being my first language
it surely is my second... made it easier than reading
the awkwardly formed sentences of Ōe
being translated from Japanese
but also sure helped that the landscape
narrated was undoubtedly my country Mexico
or a latin/mexican lost paradise in Bowles mind
and the fact that the characters has names like
Señora Sanchez, señora Lucha, Federico, y Roberto
and said phrases like "A veces..."

Paul Bowles sounds timeless, and wise...
and legendary!, like García Márquez or José Saramago
those authors that read like they are writing
"from above..."
and yet Bowles is refreshingly more humane
not sure how to explain...

magical Bowles and his
"The dinning room smelled of kerosene and oranges."
and his
"The night was thick with eternity."

Eternity indeed mister Bowles! i say...
and a sound thank you to my dear friends
for their soulful recommendations of authors
and the gifts of books
they are like smiles for the soul
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