Janhvi reviews David Karashima’s Who We’re Reading When We Are Reading Murakami (Soft Skull, 2020) and analyses when we’re reading any translation, how much are we reading the author, and how much originality of his words have been retained.
As I read my Twelfth Murakami, I realised that I still couldn’t find him bringing any reflection of the Japanese. It made me wonder if the translations are responsible for the separation of the reader from the culture, or is his writing originally so American?
Through this book, David asks a similar question that when we’re reading any translation, how much are we reading the author, and how much originality of his words have been retained.
Vyogtsky, a Russian Psychologist, in his early studies of Language researched how we can think something only in some languages. For example, there’s are languages such as Rukai, Greenlandic, and Quechua where there is no past tense and thus the people find it hard to think and take the past with them.
Similar, are the words of Welsh that explain the feelings for which there are no words. For example, cafuné: the feeling when someone runs their hand through your hair. Or Hiraeth: a longing for a home that isn’t your house/home.