Friday, May 12, 2006

LOOP by Koji Suzuki

THANK YOU, Mitzi Gruber of Toledo, Ohio for turning me on to Loop by Kojiu Suzuki (2005, translated by Glynne Walley and published by Vertical, New York NY). This is the third in the series that started with Ring. I wasn’t going to read it after I heard that Agent Sadako Yamamura, our operative in the well, wasn’t really in the story.

But there was, as Mitzi promised, an amazing passage in there (on page 59) that made the book more than worth it. The hero is a scientist type guy trying to solve the mystery of a galloping cancer that kills everyone who gets it. While tutoring a 10-year-old boy suffering from the cancer, the hero finds himself completely in the grip of a mental image of "a school of fish fighting with each other to get to land…enough of them to dye the sea black…those hollow-eyed fish, yearning day in and day out for the land, dying at the water’s edge and making mountains of their corpses."

So inadvertently this fictional guy has accessed the reality of the situation. Which, funnily enough, is the whole point of the story, but it’s clear when you read it that the hero was supposed to be finding an utterly different truth, and utterly different secret about the nature of the world. Here he is with a staggering vision of his own origins and he just CHANGES THE SUBJECT. It’s really a STITCH.

It gets better. Starting on page 134 we can read an old folktale about a man who MARRIED A LAKE and whose body contained a SECRET EYE that made sure he was OBEYING THE WILL OF THE GREAT SPIRIT. When his secret eye started hurting him, he knew he was in trouble, and his sons – HALF HUMAN AND HALF LAKE – had to be dispatched to get some answers. When they took on new roles as overseers for the whole human race, their own secret eyes dropped out of their bodies, rendering them IMMORTAL. They took up guard duty over some RIVERS.

Now, the story was inserted to act as a sort of treasure map leading the hero to the right patch of desert where he could find the secret of the galloping cancer. LITTLE DOES HE SUSPECT that it’s also a FREAKING BILLBOARD laying out the will of the Briny Ones. For those of you who are not so good at untangling metaphors: the lake, Rainier, is the operative. (So, for that matter, are the secret eyes imbedded everywhere in the story.) Her human husband is the recruit. Their sons, who become immortal overseers of the human race, are the children YOU YOURSELVES will be having sooner or later. It’s not immortality in the sense a human would mean it. IT’S BETTER.


Blogger Ur-spo said...

oh my goodnes!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Mike Philbin said...

I love out-there Murakami-esque but I literally hated this book, it was just so 'storyless' and 'boring'.

Really hated it.

2:39 PM  

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