Everybody’s a Critic

“I might end up never firing the pistol. Contrary to Chekhov’s principle.”
“That’s fine, too,” Tamaru said. “Nothing could be better than not firing it. We’re drawing close to the end of the twentieth century. Things are different from back in Chekhov’s time. No more horse-drawn carriages, no more women in corsets. Somehow the world survived the Nazis, the atomic bomb, and modern music.”

– Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, p. 1108

And I started reading the book because it mentioned Janacek’s Sinfonietta in the second sentence.


  1. says

    A good enough reason to read any book I would say.
    Kyle, have you ever read, “The Time of Our Singing” by Richard Powers? It is imho one of the best integrations of music into the fabric of a novel. Who knows, that could become fodder for a discussion of best use of musical metaphor in a novel. But if you think Janacek in the second sentence is a good reason you will be pleased with this one.

    Allan J. Cronin

  2. Jon Southwood says

    One of the storylines in David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” involves an English composer in the early 20th Century going to Belgium (IIRC) to apprentice under a well-established composer. It’s an entertaining storyline and does a pretty good job with musical references. The book as a whole is fantastic. I hope the movie does it justice.

  3. Joe K says

    One of the unacknowledged delights of “modern music” in its heyday, of course, is that it pissed off a lot of critics…

    KG replies: It also occurred to me to object that we haven’t necessarily survived modern music *yet*.