Pascal Bakker

Wind/Pinball Reivew



    I recently read the book Wind/Pinball. The book contains two stories, and follows the life of young men through their young adult life. Personally, I didn't find the first story of 'Wind' particularly interesting, however, it was made tolerable by Haruki Murakami's writing style. The second story, Pinball, I enjoyed much more.

    Pinball is about a man and his relationship to a pinball machine, Spaceship. This story cuts deep into my soul.

    Bonus Light, a book-length study of pinball, says the following in its introduction: Almost nothing can be gained from pinball, The only payoff is a numerical substitution for pride. The losses, however, are considerable, You could probably erect bronze statues of every American president(assuming you are willing to include Richard Nixon) with the coins you will lose, while your lost time is irreplaceable.
    When you are standing before the machine engaged in your solitary act of consumption, another guy is plowing through Proust, while still another guy is doing some heavy petting with his girlfriend while watching True Grit at the local drive-in. They're the ones who may wind up becoming groundbreaking novelists or happily married men.
    No, pinball leads nowhere. The only result is a glowing replay light. Replay, replay, replay--it makes you think the whole aim of the game is to achieve a form of eternity.
    The goal of pinball is self-transformation, not self-expression. It involves not the expansion of the ego but its diminution. Not analysis but all-embracing acceptance.
    If it's self expression, ego expansion, or analysis you're after, the tilt light will exact its unsparing revenge.

    Have a nice game!

     This book was pretty relatable because I too had once an asymmetical relationship with pinball, I was sucked into an universe that was independent of time, in a zen state as my wallet was getting drained, mesmorized by the flashing lights and mechanical sounds. Like the narrator in the novel,I I was entraced in a deadly relationship with a machine that is sucks your life away, but you can't just leave the machine, it becomes a real thing to you.

    However, for him, one day the pinball machine was removed, and he thus went on a quest to find it. He eventually does, and he and the machine have a dialouge together, like their lovers saying goodbye for the last time. By the end of the novel, he parts ways with the machine. I guess its cliche but he learns to let go and move on with his life. I think in the modern world we develop intricate relationships with material objects, and even though we are deeply intangled in these relationships we lack the self awareness to treat these relationships with care. These objects can cause more greivences in our lifes than any person every could, and it can be scary since this is relatively new thing(at a large scale at least) for this to happen to people. But part of growing up isn't to folow sound guidlines to life, but to recognize our own emotional hurdles and overcome them. Despite the narrator's bizzare relationship with pinball, he was able to overcome his distress.

    The books touch on the expirence of young adult life, and throughout the books, I found reflections of the characters in myself. I'm sure theres some stuff about the book I forgot to mention, and some symbolism I missed, but I found the book to be a comforting expirence.