Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Haruki Murakami Wears Valenki

Laura Miller describes Murakami's protagonists as "dreamy, brainy introverts, drunk on culture (high and pop), with a tendency to get mixed up with mysterious women and outlandish conspiracies." Well, such men are hard to come by, especially if we mysterious women expect them to also have ambition, dignity and looks. There are enough conspiracies to go around, but how many of them are really racy anymore? I'm sure there are plenty of starched white men looking out floor to ceiling windows high above New York who are knee deep in fraudulent tax secrets, but where is the intrigue in that? Give me the pop-drunk introvert with a fitful mind. I want mine with gravitas.

What does a man wear? Do the clothes tell you whose approval he is seeking. I think so. I want catalysts who dress for their own skin and hold a sense of fashion that isn't taught or manufactured. I want him not to try to BE anything, not EMO, not trendy, not cool. I want to see him trouncing around in valenki with that dreamy brain of his on overdrive. Then he runs into me and my mysterious womanhood, and together we conspire to take the material world less seriously. In our consumer culture, what's more outlandish than that?

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