ダンス・ダンス・ダンス（下）(Dance, Dance, Dance Part 2)
Author: 村上春樹 (Haruki Murakami) (1988)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★★★
Dance, Dance, Dance is officially my favourite Murakami work. It is one of the most superbly crafted mysteries I’ve read, and easily one of the most enjoyable. Just when you thought things couldn’t advance any faster (read my review of Part 1 here), Part 2 doesn’t relent and slow down; in fact, the pace increases. I refuse to reveal anything about the plot for to give away the slightest detail would be unforgivable, but let’s just say the main character finds himself in Hawaii as well as Japan. What is continued from the first part is the constant interactions between the main character and Yuki; reminiscent of Léon, in the blurred relationship of the two (father and daughter, or lovers?) as well as About a Boy, in the witty dialogue between them. More and more answers are revealed as the novel progresses, including one that had me stopped dead in my tracks; I did not see it coming and was utterly shocked at the revelation.
Not only are the emotional journeys of the characters portrayed, an increasing number of events also occur, all revolved around the theme of ‘life and death’; actually more like just ‘death’. You can’t help but feel something for the main character, a lot of sympathy and a lot of support. He goes through hell and just wants to find meaning in his life. His struggles for that discovery are applaudable. This is a masterly written story and the sequence is surprisingly straightforward for a Murakami novel; but in that sense, it is much easier and very refreshing to read.
It is a different Murakami novel altogether from what I’ve read, and I must commend him for what is one of his best-written works. It is supposedly said that this was his most enjoyable write, and I could sense it as I was reading it; it was extremely enjoyable for me as well. It is a fun and exciting story to read, the uniquely Murakami surrealism still present but maintains the necessary realism for the story to commence and unfold. I could tell he let his creativity run wild; it overflows and is apparent in this novel. I could easily envision a film, though I pray if it is made, it falls into the right hands. Despite feeling at times saddened and horrified, by the end we are gently brought back into the light, feeling a warm sense of hope at the reuniting and rediscovering of human relationships. Murakami (unknowingly or knowingly? no one knows) has written a brilliant, thought and emotion-provoking novel that contains a little of everything and has something for everybody. Ultimately, we all just have to keep dancing.
“Humans die too quickly. Life is much more fragile than you think. That’s why people should maintain close relationships with each other in order to lead a life with no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely. I don’t like people who don’t make that effort and regretfully cry when people die.” p.197