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“The first place she went to was Hawaii. She lived on Kauai for two years. She had read somewhere that Kauai’s north shore had an area with springs that produced marvelous water. Already, back then, my sister had a profound interest in water. She believed that human existence was largely controlled by the elements of water. Which is why she went to live on Kauai.” The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, p. 88

Coincidence is truly a beautiful thing, especially when literary reality merges with true-to-life experiences. Kauai is my favorite place on earth. The beautiful, peaceful island is not sought out by most family vacationers and night-life fanatics. Visitors who do go to Kauai stay mostly on south shore, where the weather is drier and sunnier than the drizzly, cooler north shore.(Kauai has 33 micro-climates). To me the north shore is a refuge where spiritual peace prevails and material desires cease to exist. What gadget and means of communication on which urban life depends suddenly become irrelevant in Kauai. There is no need to look at the watch unless I have a dinner reservation. I’m not aware of spiritual water here, but the coast is flanked by beautiful but very discreet beaches, due to the fact that they are not clearly marked. (It’s actually not a bad thing for regulars like me). A beach looms at every turn of the road after Hanalei Bay. Some are more rocky than others. By far my favorite are Ke’e and Haena beaches. Ke’e is famous for is a large shallow reef that provides a relatively protected swimming area and a great opportunity for snorkeling. Haena is a large crescent of white sand beach with some trees along the fringe and a grassy camping area. Haena is a very pretty north shore beach and the scenery is dramatic with lush green mountains rising high out of the ground immediately to the south. I spend hours on end wading the water and reading at these beaches. I cannot wait to be back to Kauai this winter.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle reminds me of many themes Haruki Murakami has touched upon in After Dark: loneliness, isolation, relationship, prostitution, and metaphysical power. Specifically two characters in both novels are sisters. Murakami seems to have a penchant for exploring sororal relationship. Also present are prostitution and sexual desire. As befit to the size of Wind-Up Bird, the novel has an underlying historical scheme pertaining to the Second Sino-Japanese War. What I don’t expect is how some supernatural forces are at the center of three novels on a roll that I have read.

10 Responses

  1. Your description of Kauai makes me look forward to a visit there in the near future. I will be returning to the islands for Thanksgiving and am looking forward to it.

  2. How beautiful! This sounds like a beautiful and peaceful place to be!

    • I stay at the same resort but different condo units. But I always pick the units that command the view of Bali Hai. My friends always make fun of how I take a million pictures of the same view. But they aren’t the same! 🙂

  3. I’ve only been to Maui, but I think this particular island would be more my thing. I love isolation, and I don’t like crowds. If I am ever able to go again, this will be my choice!

    • I was looking at the Maui prices and they just make my eyes bulge! Maui is very popular location for honeymooners and the rich & famous. I’m thinking of Kauai and took an island hopper to Maui for a few days.

  4. Beautiful!! I haven’t read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle but I do have that book in my pile. It’s just a matter of time I get to it. 😉

  5. Matt, thanks for visiting my blog. I laughed about your comment about Sarah Palin’s book and how you turned all the covers upside down. I thought I was the only person who did that! In fact, I was attempting to do it in the grocery check out line the other day when Glen Beck’s book was prominently on display. Only problem, the back of the book is just as bad as the front. Ha!

    • I always think those books of which the back covers are pictures of the authors very surreal! My new escapade is to turn the John McCain cover over at the bookstores! 🙂

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