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For writer Haruki Murakami, studying fiction helps us ‘see via lies’ in a world divided by partitions

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OVIEDO, Spain — For Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, the bloody battle within the Gaza Strip is a horrendous instance of how our world is split by partitions, each bodily and metaphorical.

However whereas admitting he can solely pray for peace now, he additionally feels assured that fiction, fairly than providing an escape, can assist us perceive, and survive, more and more perilous instances.

“I’ve Jewish associates in Israel. And I’m additionally conscious that the Palestinian scenario that I noticed after I visited Israel is depressing,” Murakami informed The Related Press in an interview. “So all I can say is to hope in order that peace will prevail as quickly as attainable. I can’t say which (facet) is correct or fallacious.”

The conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group has resonated with the title of Murakami’s latest novel “The Metropolis and Its Unsure Partitions,” which was printed in Japanese this yr and has but to be translated into English.

“In my novels, partitions are actual partitions. However in fact they’re additionally metaphoric partitions on the identical time,” the 74-year-old author stated. “For me, partitions are very significant issues. I’m a bit claustrophobic. If I’m locked up in a cramped area I could have a light panic. So I usually take into consideration partitions.”

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“After I visited Berlin, the wall was nonetheless there. “After I visited Israel and noticed that 6-meter-high (19.7-foot-high) wall, I used to be form of terrified,” he added.

Murakami spoke to the AP this week earlier than he acquired Spain’s Princess of Asturias prize for literature within the northern Spanish metropolis of Oviedo. Friday’s gala will likely be presided over by Princess Leonor de Borbón, the inheritor to Spain’s King Felipe VI. The 50,000-euro award ($52,900) is one in every of eight prizes overlaying the humanities, communication, science and different areas which are handed out yearly by the Princess of Asturias basis.

The award’s jury highlighted Murakami’s “skill to reconcile Japanese custom and the legacy of Western tradition in an formidable and progressive narrative.”

In his memoir on being a author, “Novelist As a Vocation,” Murakami lays out his concept of “novelistic intelligence,” whereby writers, and readers, study via fiction to keep away from rash judgements and to just accept — identical to most of the protagonists in his novels and tales — that conclusive solutions to real-life questions of affection and loss are hardly ever discovered.

Reflecting on knowledge that’s fostered by fiction, Murakami stated that whereas journalism and breaking evaluation of world occasions are obligatory, “we additionally want metaphorical and sluggish info” to make sense of our actuality, which is being shortly reworked by new applied sciences, whereas nonetheless riveted by apparently timeless spiritual and nationwide conflicts.

“As an illustration, there’s faux information. I feel it’s proper to problem that with fiction. I feel that may be the facility of novels,” he stated. “Faux information has a slim probability of profitable its combat towards the reality. Individuals who have acquired true tales can actually see via lies.”

Murakami’s distinctive writing type, which mixes an intimate narrative voice with surreal happenings navigated by weak but resilient protagonists, has gained over tens of millions of readers in Japan and across the globe. His novels, short-story collections and essays have bought tens of millions of copies and been translated into over 40 languages.

Murakami’s 1987 novel “Norwegian Wooden,” which took a extra real looking method to a narrative of reminiscing on younger love, turned him right into a star in Japan. His different novels which have triumphed globally embody the enigmatic “The Wind-Up Chook Chronicle,” “Kafka on the Shore,” “After Darkish” and “1Q84.”

His most up-to-date short-story assortment, “First Particular person Singular,” brings collectively tales a few speaking monkey who steals names, a non-existent album by jazz musician Charlie Parker, and a yarn that options humorous but transferring poems on baseball, amongst others in one other show of his wildly inventive creativeness.

Murakami has been thought-about for years one of many writers who might win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nevertheless it has but to fall his means, usually going to writers with smaller readerships, like this yr’s winner, Norwegian Jon Fosse.

When requested if he minded being handed over, Murakami stated he takes a stoic method, solely worrying about what’s in his management: his personal writing.

“Mainly, I’ve a coverage of not paying very a lot consideration to prizes. It’s as a result of (prizes) are determined primarily based on another person’s judgment. I’m taken with issues during which I could make my very own choices,” he stated. “So in fact I’m honored to obtain this (Princesa de Asturias) award, however it’s solely a end result. In any case, essentially the most fantastic factor is to have the ability to inform your personal story.”

Murakami, who’s an avid long-distance runner and has written about his should be bodily match to endure lengthy days tied to a desk, stated he was nonetheless going sturdy regardless of his superior age.

At the moment, he takes a break between books to recharge his inventive batteries earlier than delving into a brand new mission.

“I’m already 74 years {old}, and I don’t know what number of novels I can nonetheless write. So no matter I write, I’ll write it with nice care,” he stated.

And what if a digital “writer” — a pc utilizing synthetic intelligence — had been to problem our monopoly on inventive writing?

For Murakami, that gained’t occur. His prodigious thoughts, he believes, nonetheless has the higher hand over any such copy since his convoluted tales solely recommend meanings via the clouds of the unknown that encompass his characters.

“After I’m writing a novel, my head is crammed with bugs, however I nonetheless write novels utilizing the mind,” he stated. “If a pc was crammed with as many bugs as I’ve, I feel (it) would break down.”


AP author Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report from Tokyo.

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