Walls

For us novelists, walls are obstacles we need to break through. Nothing more nor less than that. When we write novels we pass through walls, metaphorically speaking. We pass through walls separating reality and unreality, the conscious and the unconscious. We see what world lies on the other side of a wall, come back to our own side and describe in detail, in writing, what we saw. We don’t pass judgment on the meaning of the wall, or the pros and cons of the role it plays. We just try to accurately portray the scene we saw. That’s the sort of work we novelists do on a daily basis.

When a person reads fiction and is moved and excited by it, he may break through that wall together with the author. Of course, when he closes the book he’s basically in the same place he was when he began reading. If he’s moved at all it’s a matter of 10 or 20 centimetres at the most. The reality around him hasn’t changed, and no actual problems have been solved. Yet still the reader is left with the distinct feeling that he has broken through a wall, gone somewhere and returned. He’s left with the sensation that he has moved from his starting point, even if it’s only a small distance. And I’ve always believed that experiencing that physical sensation is the most important thing about reading. The actual feeling that you are free, that if you want to, you can break through walls and go wherever you like. I want to treasure that above all. And write as many stories as I can that make that possible. And share those kinds of stories with as many people as I can. — Haruki Murakami