Dance Dance Dance

Dance Dance Dance

by Haruki Murakami

A psychic 13-year-old dropout with a passion for Talking Heads.

Combine this offbeat cast of characters with Murakami's idiosyncratic prose and out comes Dance Dance Dance.

  • Series: The Rat
  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 4.04
  • Pages: 393
  • Publish Date: February 7th 2002 by Vintage
  • Isbn10: 0099448769
  • Isbn13: 9780099448761

What People Think about "Dance Dance Dance"

Just make sure you've read his "Trilogy of the Rat" before reading this. Or at the very LEAST make sure you've read A Wild Sheep Chase.

Leggendo queste pagine, ho la sensazione di vedere un vecchio film di Wim Wenders, uno di quelli degli anni Settanta, dove spazio geografico e spazio mentale coincidono. Nel corso del tempo di Wim Wenders, 1976. Per di più, questo avviene con personaggi essenzialmente insopportabili e anche un po' fasulli, e la sensazione che magari si sta leggendo una grande scemenza: ma il piacere della lettura non ne rimane minimamente intaccato. Bravo Murakami che è riuscito in un'impresa tanto difficile, scrivere l'Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie della fine del XX secolo. Probabilmente lui qui ha voluto raccontare la presa di coscienza di un indolente giornalista trentaquattrenne che non ha ancora capito come connettersi con la realtà e che alla fine di questo viaggio-avventura forse impara a farlo: danzando, ballando, senza pensare troppo, lasciandosi andare e seguendo il tempo della vita.

Ambiguity about what is real is the other thread: we assume the narrator is reliable (he's a journalist), but there are visions of various kinds, films, vague memories, a bit of mind reading. You know, cultural snow." It opens with him talking about The Dolphin Hotel, and how he often dreams of it after a previous girlfriend, Kiki, took him there, then disappeared. Other key characters are Yumiyoshi, a pretty hotel receptionist, and Yuki, a bright thirteen year old rich drop-out, largely ignored by her divorced parents. All the way through, and especially towards the end, the narrator is musing on fate and destiny, and looking for meaning in all this - as is the reader. In more detail: (view spoiler) Yumi and then the narrator accidentally (and separately) find themselves in a parallel world, in the Old Dolphin Hotel, where they meet the old owner, who the narrator nicknames Sheep Man because of all the pictures and books about sheep. He also discovers that Kiki had a bit part in a film of Gotunda's ("Unrequited Love", that the narrator watches obsessively) because Gotunda was a client and Kiki was one of the call girls at a secretive and very high-end agency. Through Yumi, the narrator gets to know Yuki, whose flighty photographer mother had left behind at the hotel to travel abroad! Yuki has also seen Sheep Man, though by some sort of mental connection to the narrator, rather than going through the portal. Gotunda calls the agency to get a couple of girls for him and the narrator. Later, when a one-armed man he knows dies, he realises they represent people close to him who have died, and fears for the lives of Gotunda, Yuki and Yumi. Yuki gets spookily sick when they borrow Gotunda's Maserati, and when she sees him and Kiki in the film, is so unwell, she has to leave the cinema. (view spoiler)She says that the actor (Gotunda) killed the actress (Kiki) in real life and that she "saw" it.

As one of Haruki Murakami's earlier novels, Dance Dance Dance is quite a feat. The main character is a middle-aged divorcee at a dead end job who is so maddeningly and predictably similar to so many other Murakami main characters. The truth is, I do not even care very much for the main character or his silly dealings with "The Dolphin Hotel" and "The Sheep Man." The absolute best thing about this book, and the only part I would consider as worth salvaging and am enraged that it wasn't developed more, is the 13-year old girl who the main character looks after for a while.

There are references to trends and capitalism and consumerism and the vacuous concept of celebrity status and also the usual Murakami themes of alienation and the sudden discovery of a human connection. Dance Dance Dance has our anonymous narrator, suffering from existential dread, going back to some of the thematic venues of A Wild Sheep Chase in search of a past connection.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works.