“I’m tired of living unable to love anyone. I don’t have a single friend – not one. And, worst of all, I can’t even love myself. Why is that? Why can’t I love myself? It’s because I can’t love anyone else. A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else. Do you understand what I am saying? A person who is incapable of loving another cannot properly love himself.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
My Difficult Reading Book Club has been cranking through Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 at a steady clip – through Book 1 and well into Book2. There was even a mention of our last book, The Brother’s Karamazov.
In today’s chapter Tengo is on a train going to visit his father. He is reading a paperback of short stories and finds one that resonates with him and his story. It’s a strange tale called Town of Cats written by an unnamed Russian author.
I wondered if the story actually existed outside of 1Q84. I did a quick web search and found that it didn’t – that it was made up for the novel.
I did discover, however, that the story was excerpted from the massive novel and published as a stand-alone story in the New Yorker. That’s cool.
So you can read it if you want a taste of 1Q84 without committing to the 900+ page tome.
This story is very similar, although the author is British, not German. I presumed Murakami was half-remembering it when he wrote Town of Cats: https://algernonblackwood.org/Z-files/Ancient%20Sorceries.pdf