Dance Dance Dance

Dance Dance Dance 
Author: Haruki Murakami
Release Date: 1994 (JP)/ 2003 (UK)
Vintage

To make it through life you must keep dancing. Dance to the rhythm of life, and watch as everyone joins in. The minute you stop, you trip over those dancing shoes. So don’t stop, dance. Dance. Dance. 

Dance Dance Dance is about the notion for motion to keep the world moving, be it positive or not. The protagonist left unnamed is stuck in a rut, and the only thing keeping him afloat is a memory of an old hotel, The Dolphin, he visited in the past with a prostitute called Kiki. He takes a break from shovelling snow in a literary sense and goes off in hopes of finding this woman. But the path to finding this woman is a hazy one, and so he meanders around dealing with numerous characters, from a hollow receptionist to a Talking Heads obsessed teen. A meeting with the Sheep Man from a past novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, states that he must dance. And so as he keeps on moving everything begins to connect once more.

The novel is rather mundane, dealing with pleasant days out and nights in drinking whiskey, but as per usual Murakami makes the mundane seem like the most engaging way to spend time in the world. As each scene goes by, thoughts on society and capitalism shine an overbearing light on how routine our movements are, how hopelessly attached we are to media, expectations and desires. The characters the protagonist meet are examples of people trying to survive in this tough world, each with problems which rotate around this concept of capitalism and expectations. So many brand names thrown about, losing any importance as their true purpose is unravelled.

It dives into the surreal and shocking too, with big jolts  casually popping into the tale as it lulls you into its quaint pace and style. They come suddenly but always when the weight will be felt, that moment when you’ve really felt the characters personalities and you don’t want anything bad to become of them. It’s a rather tragic tale, especially if you’ve ever felt lost in this great big world. Don’t slip away. keep dancing.

Dance Dance Dance is one of Murakami’s more well-rounded novels, delivering a satisfying tale of capitalism and multi-dimension hotels.  Murakami’s sex obsession is kept to a minimum too! Too busy dancing for that.

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