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Into the puzzle of Dance Dance Dance

Nazmun Naher Shishir discovers the metaphors of ‘dance’

Published : Saturday, 7 January, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 306

"Dancing is everything, Dance in tip-top form. Dance so it all keeps spinning. If you do that, we might be able to do something for you. You gotta dance. As long as the music plays…Dance, it's the only way. Wish we could explain things better. But we told you all we could. Dance. Don't think. Dance. Dance your best, like your life depended on it. You gotta dance." --- quipped The Sheep Man.
Pen of Murakami is almost always a puzzle. Readers meet his characters in his many books with the same name which confuses a reader who have yet to discover the love for Murakami's pages. Dance Dance Dance is no exception.   
It seems like a sequel but no, it is not. We meet the characters seeming same in his other books but they are not. And again we go the places seeming same but those are not. But still the heavy weights of his characters' inner hollow are same. They are non-linier, non-judgmental, quiet, calm, non-commital, empty and many more absurdity make them a whole of a Murakami's character.
Likewise, in the recollection of thoughts, memories and nostalgia Dance Dance Dance begins with Boku (name is not mentioned) from A Wild Sheep Chase in an old hotel in Sapporo --- the Dolphin Hotel. To recollect his lost friend Rat, his wife and his girlfriend Kiki with magical ears (a high-class call girl) disappeared at the Dolphin Hotel. As a result of immense depression he imprisoned himself for six months at home with no communication: any connection with the outside world and any radio, TV, or magazines. In this way of self therapy he was trying to stand up on his foot in this way. After coming back to the society in a Spring's day 34-year-old freelance magazine writer soon starts seeking for hope. Thus, his dream leads him to the Dolphin Hotel where he lost his girl friend Kiki.
In illusion of dream he starts to find out his own hope and place with obsession and finds that everything is connected as The Sheep Man (the name suggests a "pastor", that is, a protector)  --- other worldly being comments on his life. And this mysterious being exists in --- "a world humans can't see…somewhere, out of the elements…. Somewhere in between, half shadow".
Following his dream his physical journey and his spiritual quest to find some hope starts in consumerist modern Japan. This society is based on consumption, the waste of natural resources, illusions created by superficiality and moral corruption of the government. The protagonist himself is indulged into it, "After wasting so much pulp and ink myself, who was I to complain about waste? We live in an advanced capitalist society, after all". Being aware of the fact he calls capitalism a "meaningless waste", whereas politicians call it "refinements in domestic consumption". And in his journey he met one after another, one after another but he gets Kiki nowhere.
In the transformed l'Hotel Dauphi the protagonist meets The Sheep Man in the 16th floor where the elevator suddenly stopped. Somehow The Sheep Man is the hope for salvation, happiness and meaning in this increasingly corrupted society of false need. As according to him the protagonist has lost his link and connection and he will try to help him as much as he can to tie up the wounded things and bonding.
Death: a very common wind of Murakami's novels which makes his fiction real. Dance seems no exception. The narrator connects his attachment with death as he seems meeting everyone who is dead like and seems dying. This is no coincidence. Mei, a call girl he visited, Kiki his girl friend died and the more he goes on to search for the meaning of life he gets about death. May be this is how Murakami knits the absurdity of the narrator's life or the fragility of his life.
Sense of loss and abandonment, desire of solidity, high regards of love, fetish of a consumer society and parallel search for longing with someone make the novel more inquisitive for the readers. Moreover, dance is a metaphor of performance here. Living the life and stepping-in in life and moving-in life are optimistically portrayed in the canvas of this novel but it shows the dance of humans in a consumer society as well.

Nazmun Naher Shishir is with The Daily Observer

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