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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.

Getaway to Kauai, Hawaii

Clockwise from top left: Landing in Lihue, Kauai island, Hanalei Bay Resort, Hanalei Bay, Hanalei Bay Resort cafe

I’m already in Lihue, Kauai Island when you read this post. This is a bonus getaway since United kindly rewards me a free ticket to Hawaii from the redeemable segment miles. All I pay for out of my pocket is the beautiful vacation rental at Hanalei Bay Resort on the north shore of Kauai Island and travel expenses.

Known also as the “Garden Isle”, Kauaʻi lies 105 miles across the Kauaʻi Channel, northwest of Oʻahu. Of volcanic origin, the highest peak on this mountainous island is Kawaikini at 5,243 ft. One of the wettest spots on Earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches, is located on the east side of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls. It’s the quietness, seclusion, and lushness that attract me to Kauai–perfect for a getaway with lots of beach walk, hiking, swimming, and reading.

I’m bringing with me three books to read:

The Page Turner by David Leavitt
Shadow of a Man by May Sarton (Outmoded Author Challenge #4)
Woman Who Waited by Andrei Makine

Yes, I have thoroughly enjoyed the absorbing The Small Room by May Sarton, which I didn’t want to end but have finished over coffee this morning. I carve for more of her work and decide to bring along yet another book, which will be #4 for the Outmoded Author book. The review of The Small Room has been programmed and will be posted while I’m gone. Stay tuned! I’ll have to response to your comments when I get back.