With the goal of stirring up even more interest in Murakami between now and mid-October tomorrow!, when the Nobel Prizes are announced, I will post a small piece of Murakami translation once a week from now until the announcement. You can see the other entries in this series here: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Boku has made his decision to leave the Town. He chooses to stay true to his dark dream, his dark mind – his shadow – rather than stay in the Town with kimi. This is the opposite of the result of Hard-boiled Wonderland, where he stays because he cannot “forsake the people and places and things I have created” (399). This shows the crucial difference between the Town in the two texts – in Hard-boiled Wonderland, the Town is clearly part of boku, but in “The Town and Its Uncertain Wall,” I think it’s actually kimi: Boku is unwilling to lose himself in another person, even if it means a blissful and sincere connection with another.
So he jumps.
And on the other side, here is what he has to say:
Every second words are dying. Words die in alleyways, in attics, in the wilderness, and in waiting rooms at stations with the collar on their coat still turned up.
What can I communicate to you? Everything disappears like hitting a light switch. Click – OFF. That’s the end.
I’ve buried too many things already.
I’ve buried sheep, cows, refrigerators, supermarkets, and words.
I don’t want to bury anything else.
But nonetheless, I must continue to speak. That’s the rule.
Long ago I chose the Town surrounded by the Wall, and in the end I abandoned it. I still don’t know whether or not it was the right thing to do.
I survive, and now I’m writing this. The stink of death still surrounds me. I sleep with dark dreams, and I wake with dark thoughts. The path I walk is dark, and it gets darker with each step I take.
Everything is being lost. It will continue to be lost. The songs that moved me long ago are gone, and the scenery that gently held me is gone, too. The silent darkness also blots out a huge number of endearing words.
But I have not a single regret.
I think of the Town surrounded by the Wall as I watch my shadow stretched out on the wall of my room (now with nothing to say) in the long, dark night. I think of the tall Wall, of you under the faint light bulbs in the Library, of the beasts and the sound of their hooves echoing on the streets, of the willows swaying in the wind, and of the chill winter wind that blows through the factory street empty of all people.
There’s nothing more I have to lose. That’s my only salvation. Like the wind I felt when I was sixteen, everything passes through my body. I did lose the Town, but my thoughts remain in the Town somewhere even now.
Forever…, you said. Forever. I won’t forget you, just as you won’t forget me. Thoughts of the riverside in summer, and thoughts of the bridge in winter when the wind blows.
On a cloudy autumn evening, I suddenly hear the echo of the horn. The sound must make it to my ears through a gap somewhere in that uncertain Wall. Riding on the cold wind that blows down from the Northern Ridge.
This concludes Murakami Month 2010. Watch the Nobel Prize announcement tomorrow, and look for more translation next year.