BIRTHDAY GIRL

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AUTHOR- Haruki Murakami

PUBLISHED IN- 2002

PAGES- 42

SPOILERS AHEAD.

It is short story so simple that one could easily finish it off within half an hour. It was short yet eccentric in the way Murakami always portrays his stories. I recently read somewhere that in an interview or something, Murakami said that the people of Japan had no trouble in reading his books as they seldom thought against the mythical and extraordinary stuff that goes around his books. The people of Europe on the other hand had a hard time comprehending his books with their need of understanding everything logically. This got me into thinking whether I have been reading his books the wrong way. True, he is one my favorite authors but was I being unfair to his works by giving them too much of a thought? It feels somewhat analogous to the situation where teachers teach the students how the word “blue” in a particular poem represented sorrow and grief, when in reality the author just wanted to state the color of the curtain was blue. It is true that Murakami is a genre by himself and maybe, just maybe I will try to read his books the way you read fairy tales, with absolute acceptance of absurdity.

This one particular line from the story that spoke volumes:

“No matter how far you go, you can never be anything but yourself.”

Getting back to the story, the plot is simple. A girl narrates her story to her friend (I suppose), which brings us to the main aspect of the book. On her twentieth birthday, she is unfortunate as she could not get a day off from working as a part time waitress in an Italian restaurant. The manager of the restaurant always brings dinner for the owner of that place whose face nobody had seen before. That ungrateful day, the manager gets a stomachache and he thrusts the  job upon the girl to serve the owner dinner. As she does that, she finds the owner to be an old man with whom she interacts a little and then he finds out that it was her birthday. The old man asks her for a birthday wish and she says one to her. It is never revealed what her wish was. Cut to the present day scenario, her friend asks if she got her wish fulfilled and whether she ever regretted her wish. She responds by citing how comfortable she was in her life and yet had a few dents. She then she asks her friend if she could have one wish when she was twenty herself then what she wish for. Her friend replies that she couldn’t think of anything that she would wish. She then replies that it is so because she had already made her wish. And with that, the story ends. As simple as it can get, uh?

 

 

I am kind of thinking to try other genres for some time. Like fantasy, for example. It would do to me good to read something fun and absolutely imaginary.

 

 

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