Book 3 Chapters 25-27
Crazy SPOILER ALERT!
This is the penultimate set of chapters that I am due to read, and there are some big spoilers here. Just want to make sure that I am not ruining it for anyone.
It did turn out that it was Tamaru who had captured Ushikawa. Their conversation was pretty good, though it didn’t have quite as much of the cat-and-mouse quality as I thought it would; Ushikawa mostly seems to go with the “just be honest and maybe he’ll let me go” theory, when it is clear that his knowledge makes him a liability to everyone involved. That being said, I don’t know how convincing I could be if I had an ex-marine giving me kidney punches every time he thought I was lying.
Anyways, I guess I could see it coming, but Ushikawa never stood a chance. He was a small person who clung to his little role in the world long after it would have been a good idea to jump ship. But then again, what choice did he really have? He was in too deep with Sakigake to get out. Perhaps the best thing about his storyline is that Tamaru wants him to be mourned too; he is, after all, a real person.
As for the Aomame storyline, it hit most of the notes I thought it would (save a big one, but I’ll get to that in the section on Tengo); she is now important for Sakigake; Tamaru guesses that it is because of the child she is carrying, but I am not so sure. Apparently some in Sakigake knew that the Leader was ailing and wanted to end his suffering; perhaps they suspected that he’d imparted some important knowledge to Aomame before she killed him and wanted to ask her about it. Tamaru assumes that they know Aomame is pregnant and that they think the Leader had something to do with it; but the Leader had told Aomame that his death would block most of their usual channels, and so how would they know about her pregnancy? One thing is for sure: even if they didn’t know about the baby before hand, they sure as hell would be interested in it when they did find out that she was pregnant.
It seems that Aomame and Tengo are going to go their own way, apart from the dowager and Tamaru’s protection. I don’t know if that is a good idea; not only is Sakigake still after them, not only are they forgoing the dowager’s considerable resources, they are, in a sense, trying to start anew and to escape a formative part of their experiences, as if the twenty years that have passed since they were ten simply hadn’t happened. That’s what Kumiko and Toru tried to do in Wind-Up Bird, and just look where that went.
And yet there is something very hopeful and pure about that feeling, even if it is foolish.
So yes, my big prediction—that Aomame and Tengo wouldn’t get to see each other, let alone be together—looks like it is a big turkey. They do in fact get together, and I’ve gotta give credit to Murakami for describing that moment pretty well; the anticipation, the sense that time isn’t moving at all and then it jumps forward by leaps and bounds and then seems to be moving too fast. I think it’s a recognizable sensation for most people who’ve been in love.