Where is this quotation from, and how am I misremembering it?
June 2, 2009 5:38 PM   Subscribe

What novel (possibly or probably by Haruki Murakami) contains a speech or inner monologue with the phrase "So maybe I'm not such a good person after all"? And what's the actual text of the quotation?

I hate to use my weekly question on this, but now it's gnawing at me and my Google skills have fallen short. I'm thinking of either a speech or inner monologue type passage that includes the phrase "So maybe I'm not such a good person after all," (or a close analogue of that), along with a sort of explanation of how that person can be low and mean. I know there's a speech with similar content but different wording in South of the Border, West of the Sun.

My intuition was that it's in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, but like I said, my searches so far have been fruitless. I've read a lot of Murakami so it could easily be from any of his other novels or short stories... or something entirely different, though hopefully not.
posted by telegraph to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Norwegian Wood, when he totally overlooks the feelings of the girl not in the asylum?

(I'd have to go home to check on this.)
posted by hobbes at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2009

Not How To Be Good?
posted by Kirklander at 6:17 PM on June 2, 2009

I guessed Kafka on the Shore. I don't have a specific reason, but it's not the only Murakami I've read, and it seems plausible.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:22 PM on June 2, 2009

I think Norwegian Wood or Sputnik Sweetheart are strong possibilities. However I'm pretty sure this is from the girl in Wind Up Bird Chronicle.
posted by smoke at 9:06 PM on June 2, 2009

In Norwegian Wood, in a letter from Naoko.

In any case, though, I believe that I have not been fair to you and that, as a result, I must have led you around in circles and hurt you deeply.

In doing so, however, I have led myself around in circles and hurt myself just as deeply. I say this not as an excuse or a means of self- justification but because it is true. If I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your wound but mine as well. So please try not to hate me. I am a flawed human being - a far more flawed human being than you realize. Which is precisely why I do not want you to hate me. Because if you were to do that, I would really go to pieces.

In The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, a letter from Kumiko.

I have always thought of myself as an honest person. True, I have my faults. But where important things were concerned, I had never lied to anyone or deceived myself. I had never hidden anything from you. That had been one small source of pride for me. But then, for months, I went on telling you those fatal lies without a twinge of regret.

That very fact is what started to torment me. It made me feel as if I were an empty, meaningless, worthless person. And in fact, that is probably what I am.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:40 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the ideas so far everyone. Clearlydemon, sadly it's neither of those quotes, but I'm heartened by smoke's assertion that it's a quote from May Kasahara, because that's what I was thinking as well. I'm still looking...
posted by telegraph at 9:42 PM on June 2, 2009

Maybe from the story Family Affair in the Elephant Vanishes?

I just go along burning my own calories in accordance with my own ideas about things. What other people do doesn't concern me. I don't smirk at them; I don't even look at them. I may be a good-for-nothing, but at least I don't get in the way of other people.

There are more pieces of self-deprecating dialogue right around that passage I just quoted, too.
posted by otolith at 11:10 PM on June 2, 2009

Did you try running some searches at books.google.com?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:53 AM on June 3, 2009

Probably not what you're thinking of, but your question reminded me of this video that is totally awesome.
posted by Jawn at 4:44 PM on June 3, 2009

Mod note: Final update from the OP:
The quotation is from the short story "A Slow Boat to China", and here it is in full:

I forced words out: "There are some things about myself I can't explain to anyone. There are somethings I don't understand at all. I can't tell what I think about things or what I'm after. I don't know what my strengths are or what I'm supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail, the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared, I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I'm not such a wonderful human being."
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

« Older Locally-made pants in San Francisco   |   My face and head sweat too much; make it stop? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.