英语网讯 Writing is like “chatting up a woman”, Japan’s superstar novelist Haruki Murakami has said: “You can get better with practice to a certain degree, but basically, you’re either born with it, or you’re not.”
The novelist was responding online to one of the questions he has received from fans over the last few days, in his new guise as Japan’s most literary agony uncle. He began posting on Jan 15 on a site, Murakami-san no tokoro – or Mr Murakami’s Place – set up by his publisher, Shinchosa, which has said he will be taking questions until the end of the month.
Cats make regular, enigmatic appearances in Murakami’s fiction and one reader was keen to know if the author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle might know where her lost cat had got to: “Cats just disappear sometimes. You have to love and appreciate them while they’re near you,” advised Murakami. Another wondered if the writer had any tips to stop his wife from burping; Murakami phlegmatically pointed out that “burping is far better than farting”.
在村上春树的小说中，猫是“常客”，总是神秘莫测地出现。一位读者就很想问问这位《挪威的森林》和《奇鸟行状录》的作者，自己走失的猫咪去哪儿了。对此，村上春树这样建议：“猫儿们时不时就玩消失。所以当它们亲近你时，你要疼爱它们，欣赏它们。” 另一位粉丝则问村上是否有诀窍能让他的妻子停止打嗝 ，村上淡定地指出“（这么说请见谅）但我想打嗝总比放屁要好多了……”
The novelist has replied almost entirely in Japanese, with an “unofficial” English translation carried out by a fan. One reader, who was married with children and having an affair, asked if “there is some kind of rulebook for wicked women”. Murakami replied: “Cheating is what it is, but I think you should be careful about using the ‘D-word’ (divorce). It’s dangerous to actually utter it out loud.” He added: “I hope everything works out for you. You are not a terrible woman. This is rather common. But you must take great care in your actions.”
The author of novels from Kafka on the Shore to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, which sold 1m copies in a week in Japan, Murakami is clearly enjoying his online adventure. Questions he has answered range from the literary, to the intimate, to the playful – has Murakami ever wanted to be a cat? No, it turns out, although he has wished to be the wind.
Another reader asked how the novelist feels about being named the frontrunner for the Nobel prize in literature. It’s “kind of a nuisance”, he said, according to the fan’s translation. “It’s not like I’ve been officially nominated or anything, it’s just unaffiliated bookmakers who are putting odds on me. It’s not a horse race!”
Two correspondents wrote to Murakami in English, one asking: “Do you think cats can understand how humans feel? My cat Bobo ran away when she saw me crying.” The novelist told her: “I suspect that either you or your cat is extremely sensitive. I have had many cats, but no cat has ever been so sympathetic. They were just as egoistic as they could be.”
And asked if he had any places where he stayed “for a while”, Murakami replied in English: “An easy question. In the bed with someone I love. Where else?”