Murakami receives Jerusalem Prize

[via Gen -- thanks!]

One of my very favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, received the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society over the weekend — his short speech is thoughtful and noteworthy and worth reading the whole of, but here’s the piece that spoke to me and caused me to think again about his work:

“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.

Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.

I have only one purpose in writing novels, that is to draw out the unique divinity of the individual. To gratify uniqueness. To keep the system from tangling us. So – I write stories of life, love. Make people laugh and cry.”

It’s the first really direct reference to themes that Vonnegut wrote so much about. I hadn’t made that connection before; in just a couple of minutes it’s changed completely the way I think about Murakami’s body of work.

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