back to article Weekend reads: Colorless Tsukuru, Kool Korea and strange encounters with IKEA wardrobes

El Reg's avid bookworm Mark Diston chews his way through some of the latest foreign language bestsellers recently translated into English and Lucy Orr discovers how South Korea became cool. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1913) by Giorgio di Chirico A Mystery and …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Hong postures that the Korean PC video game industry pulled Korea out of a serious unemployment crisis, but at what personal cost to its citizens?

    Woah there!

    1) There are personal costs to any economic activity. In particular, getting older, losing limbs, generating lots of entropy that one is unable to deal with, getting the idea of having something called "government" etc.

    2) The PC video game industry cannot do anything about an "unemployment crisis". Indeed, that industry is all about generating consumer goods. In this case, said consumer goods also demand that the consumer burn further time and money on using the good.

    2.1) Resources thus used up and locked away won't go into building and accumulating capital goods of any sort.

    2.2) Yes, one can argue to having a large repository of gaming software in companys' vaults is a "capital good" (doubtful) or that there is cross-subsidy of hardware development and graphics algorithms (that would fall under "industrial policy" then), but let's keep things simple.

    2.3) So, the lack of capital goods (obsolete power plants, lack of advancement in medical science, clogged sewers, lack of skills in correctly designing plastic injection molding forms, abandoned rice paddies) will then turn out to be a serious problem in the immediate future. In particular, desired goods won't be produced and standards will go down.

    2.4) Now, if the interpretation of the gaming industry "being a factor in the unemployment crisis" is correct, then its parallels to a government scheme that performs hidden taxation, the money of which is then spent on make-work schemes of dubious utility (including low-intensity wars), is readily apparent.

    2.5) One could segue now into the moral corruption of monetary pumping/Keynesianism and how it would be to get rid of government economists with extreme prejudice, but I digress.

    Also, I'm old enough to remember William Gibson writing about Japan being cool in er... Wired, September 2001. Just before the amazingly convenient high-rise airplane prang. NURSE!!!

    But I will read the Murakami for sure.

  2. BlueGreen

    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

    Sounds exactly like the tossy shit I'd cross the road planet to avoid.

    1. Uffish
      Headmaster

      Re: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

      The tossy shit? The one and only? I can't wait to meet him (or his similacrum) - he's unique!

      Interestingly Waterstones web pages say all three books are in stock for on-line shopping. I shall be visiting a few small town bookshops in the next few days - let's see how many are physically on the shelves.

    2. Alfred

      Re: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

      If it's any consolation, you're not tha target audience. Go back to your Dan Brown and whatever Jack Reacher recycling has been churned out recently.

  3. Frankee Llonnygog

    Great reviews - thanks!

    Listening to Lazar Berman as I type.

    Spotted the Puertolas book yesterday in Waterstones and added it to my To Read list (the Murakami was already on the list, obviously). So many good books to read - life is not all crap!

  4. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

    Murakami does chic-lit

    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki was a big disappointment. I prefer it when Murakami does surrealist adventure. This book was more like a Danielle Steel romance. While this is probably akin to his early works such as Sputnik Sweetheart, I will think twice before rushing to buy "the latest Murakami" again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Murakami does chic-lit

      "This book was more like a Danielle Steel romance".

      That doesn't sound promising, but I'm still going to have to read it because I've liked his other books a lot.

      What would you say is the best Murakami book to start with? The first one I read was "Wind Up Bird Chronicle" and it would still be my favourite.

      1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

        Re: Murakami does chic-lit

        My favourite is 'Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' but I agree that 'Wind Up Bird Chronicle' would be a good place to start because it's at least based in reality. I was told to start with one of the short-story collections 'After the Quake' but I found it rather dull, as are all the others, compared to his novels.

        1. Sweeper

          Re: Murakami does chic-lit

          Hard to pick a favourite, but A Wild Sheep Chase and 1Q84, parts 1/2 would be there or thereabouts for me.

  5. Sweeper
    IT Angle

    I prefer Murakami when his novels are weird, odd, anything but linear, and leave you unable to summarise the storyline in nothing less than a month. Then they are almost impossible to put down. I will pick up Colourless later this week when I get over to London. Interestingly, the German translation has been available since December last year.

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