Lewis and Clark College
The Strange and The Familiar
"Some questions cannot be answered./ They become familiar weights in the hand,/ Round stones pulled from the pocket, unyielding and cool." --Jane Hirshfield, poet, Princeton Class of 1973
It was to my temporary Italian address that a package arrived in mid-November. Even though it had been only a couple of months, I had yearned for something to read as a respite from the unending flow of Italian, which inundated my still-untrained ears every night I spent with my host family. The package contained a book by Haruki Murakami. I had read some of his stuff before, so I asked my mom to get me another of his books because I wanted something familiar. The title of this one was strange, even more conspicuously and obnoxiously strange than the titles of most of his books: Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
The next morning, like all of my school mornings in Italy, my host sisters and I piled into the Italian version of a minivan: pale blue and boxy, but filled with the same dirt and daily debris as any car anywhere in the world. I started reading my new book during that ten-minute ride and finished it in the same place a week later. Once I finished it, I no longer felt such a strong need for respite. Reading it had been like “pulling round stones from my pocket,” “familiar weights.” The book provided me with a connection to someone else -- the author, the protagonist. It started a dialogue. It opened a...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 782 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5383 literature essays, 1608 sample college application essays, 212 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in