Monday, July 31, 2017

Onward with Murakami

"It's strange, isn't it? No matter how quiet and conformist a person's life seems, there's always a time in the past when they reached an impasse. A time when they went a little crazy. I guess people need that sort of stage in their lives."
--Colorless Tsukuru Tasaki, Haruki Murakami

It has been interesting to read Murakami in English for the first time. Beforehand, I had always read his work in Indonesian translation - Dunia Kafka, Norwegian Wood, and 1Q84. Having run out of Indonesian translations for the time being, I purchased Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki in English from Periplus. I had wondered whether these two languages would convey the same general tone - though, of course, there is a third remove, in that the originals were written in Japanese. It does seem to me, though, that the tone and diction and mood come across in a pretty similar spirit between the Indonesian and English versions. In other words, they seem to bear the stylistic voice-print of Murakami, his gentle sense of humor, his clean, focused sentence structure, his use of repetition, especially of single words embedded throughout the work. Indonesian does tend to soften 'coarse language', as there are often no words that directly translate from English for these expressions. At the same time, Murakami, as far as I have read, rarely uses specifically coarse words, even in English, so the comparative translations do not suffer much at all in this way.

No comments: