“With the Beatles”
by Haruki Murakami
translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel
from the February 17 & 24, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
The New Yorker celebrates its birthday with a story from Haruki Murakami. I’d love to hear thoughts on this one — we have two weeks to spend on it; I promise to participate too!
This one begins with the death of a dream:
What I find strange about growing old isn’t that I’ve got older. Not that the youthful me from the past has, without my realizing it, aged. What catches me off guard is, rather, how people from the same generation as me have become elderly, how all the pretty, vivacious girls I used to know are now old enough to have a couple of grandkids. It’s a little disconcerting—sad, even. Though I never feel sad at the fact that I have similarly aged.
I think what makes me feel sad about the girls I knew growing old is that it forces me to admit, all over again, that my youthful dreams are gone forever. The death of a dream can be, in a way, sadder than that of a living being.
I’ve read more of the story, and it has a vibe I quite like. Dealing with aging and memory (back to 1964 and 1965 as suggested by the title) in a loose structure, it has the feel of what I love in César Aira’s work. I hope we all enjoy it!