Thursday, 1 August 2013

Haruki Murakami Mont Blanc and Pencils


The writing instruments mentioned in Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are an extension of the characters' personalities. The mysterious and impeccable Kumiko, the protagonist's wife, could not use anything else than a Mont Blanc fountain pen. Her powerful brother owns one too. Some of their dark essence has seeped into the mysterious mark on the protagonist Toru Okada's cheekbone. The mark is a colour not dissimilar to ink:

its bluish colour was close to black, like the blue-black Mont Blanc ink that Kumiko always used.

May Kasahara, the teenage girl who despite her nihilist and amoral veneer, is more real and grounded than the other characters uses pencils:

I've got a dozen pencils, all sharpened and laid out in a row. They're brand-new. I just bought them at the stationery store - especially for writing to you (not that I'm trying to make you feel grateful or anything: just sharpened, brand-new pencils are really nice, don't you think?).

Descending into a surreal dream world where nothing is as it seems the protagonist Toru Okada is only armed with a ballpoint pen (not a Mont Blanc):

I thrust my hands into my pockets and found there, along with my wallet and change and handkerchief, a small ballpoint pen. I pulled the pen out and drew a line on my hand to make sure it had ink. I could use this to mark the walls as I followed the waiter. Then I could follow the marks back to the room. It should work.

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I have just started to read Marukami's IQ84 and was wondering if he is fond of Mont Blancs for in the first pages here it is again:

All he needed to satisfy him was his Mont Blanc pen, his blue ink, and standard manuscript sheets, each page lined with four hundred empty squares read to accept four hundred characters.

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