Abdelkader Benali

This is Abdelkader Benali telling us enthusiastically about his reading 1q84, the new Murakami. He did this during (and in fact sort of opening) Murakami Night at Selexyz Scheltema in Amsterdam.

I am an unwilling Murakami fan. After reading the first book I just thought: well… , but in the weeks (!) after finishing the book the characters and the story kept haunting me. It ended up in buying a next Murakami. This happened about 4 times and after that I reconciled myself to the situation: I am a fan. So on hearing about the night about his new book I  put down my name immediately.

It was fun. Benali was infectiously, Christine Otten told us about the music in 1q84 together with Booktunes. We saw beautiful stills from the film Norwegian Wood, which we can see from 9 December 2010 (both main characters beautiful young people with handknitted scarves and hat (!)).

But Luk van Haute, one of the 3 Murakami translators, made me come up against hard facts. This was really, really informative and made me eat my humble pie. I used to say that you could better read the English Murakami translations, being much more readable and swinging than the Dutch translations. Well, Van Haute made his case clear: this is certainly true if you want to read adaptions instead of translations. Do read the English books if you want to read a Murakami in which translators decided to leave out things as: young girls drinking pina coladas, song titles, even whole parts of stories (in English it is the Wind Up Bird Chronicle and not Chronicles like the Dutch title). In short: do read the English versions if you are afraid of sex, drugs and rock & roll. And he gave many, many examples. So I will buy and reread the Dutch translations of Kafka on the Shore, the Wind Up Bird Chronicles, Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, After Dark. Of course, not a real trial. Wish I could read and knit at the same time…

Selexyz: well done! Do it more often!

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