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“Abandoning a Cat” by Haruki Murakami

This is an essay Murakami wrote about his father. He rarely talks about his parents. Still, his father’s presence could be strongly felt especially in the “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”. His father participated in WWII and that experience had profound effects on his life. This essay has made me think about the relationship between father and son, the importance of sharing episodes with someone, and what it means to “inherit”.

As described in the title, Murakami and his father shared an unforgettable episode where they together abandoned a cat when he was small. Still, by the time they returned their house, the cat had already been there, which took them by surprise. Sharing some episodes like this, however small or casual they might be, makes us who we are and sustains us. While reading this specific part, many memories and episodes with people who are already gone came up in my mind.

I hadn’t read Murakami’s essay for a while, and realized again that I liked his individualistic voice very much.

I’m offering 3 classes on Murakami for America in January 2023, dealing with “Barn Burning”, “Toni Takitani”, and “Cream”, looking at the evolution of his works over the last 30 years. If you’re interested, please join our discussion!

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