Monday, June 1, 2009

Short Story: Landscape With Flatiron by Haruki Murakami

I found Landscape With Flatiron by Haruki Murakami online.

Junko had run away from home on her third year in High School from Tokorozawa to this little seaside spot in Ibaraki Prefecture. She was working in a convenience store on coast highway.

To her mother she wrote: Don’t worry about me, and please don’t look for me, I’m doing fine.

After sometime she found another drifter Keisuke who was two years older. He to wasn't interested in studies neither did he want to join his family business. They had a sweet shop. Keisuke wished for an easy life. He was a great surfer. Junko moved in with him. After a while, she met Miyake, a painter of sorts in his 40s. He had a Kansai dialect and hence was noticed by most. He kept his life private and did not interact with most.

A friendship develops between Miyake and Junko. He can light great bonfires and Ibaraki had driftwoods coming in plenty, so he had settled there only for those. Junko loved going to those bonfires. KIesuke accompanied her most of the times.

One day in the midst of bonfire, Keisuke leaves for home leaving her alone with Miyake. Junko feels some sort of bond with him but Miyake is noncommital. THey talk about his latest painting which is an iron in a room and is called landscape with flatiron. He does not explain what it means.

“I call it Landscape with Flatiron. I finished it three days ago. It’s just a picture of an iron in a room.”

“Why’s that so tough to explain?”

“Because it’s not really an iron.”

She looked up at him. “The iron is not an iron?”

“That’s right.”

“Meaning it stands for something else?”


“Meaning you can only paint it if you use something else to stand for it?”

Miyake nodded in silence.

She falls asleep against him and tells him to wake her when the fire goes out. He answers:

“Don’t worry. When the fire goes out, you’ll start feeling the cold. You’ll wake up whether you want to or not.”

I found all three characters drifters in their own ways. They had longings but were not aware of those. All feel some kind of emptiness which isn't fulfilled. Maybe the flatiron in a room, symbolises that.

Do check out Landscape With Flatiron by Haruki Murakami


ds said...

I do love Murakami's work. Will definitely seek this out.Thank you!

Teddy Rose said...

I have been wanting to try some of Haruki Murakami's work. I will check this out. Thanks!

TexasRed said...

It's been awhile since I read some Haruki Murakami. I'll check out the story. Thanks!