Monday, August 29, 2011

The New Yorker Releases Excerpt From Haruki Murakami's New Novel 1Q84

Stilled Life (Akihabara) 30"x22" monotype on paper 2011
Gregg Chadwick
Stilled Life (Akihabara)
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011

(Excerpt from 1Q84)
by Haruki Murakami

At Koenji Station, Tengo boarded the Chuo Line inbound rapid-service train. The car was empty. He had nothing planned that day. Wherever he went and whatever he did (or didn’t do) was entirely up to him. It was ten o’clock on a windless summer morning, and the sun was beating down. The train passed Shinjuku, Yotsuya, Ochanomizu, and arrived at Tokyo Central Station, the end of the line. Everyone got off, and Tengo followed suit. Then he sat on a bench and gave some thought to where he should go. “I can go anywhere I decide to,” he told himself. “It looks as if it’s going to be a hot day. I could go to the seashore.” He raised his head and studied the platform guide...
Continue reading in The New Yorker at: Excerpt from Haruki Murakami's Upcoming Novel 1Q84

Above: The Cover for Haruki Murakami's New Novel 1Q84:
1. Jacket 2. Binding 3.Complete
(Cover design by Chip Kidd. More at: Chip Kidd Discusses the Book Jacket for Haruki Murakami’s Forthcoming Novel 1Q84)

Also: New Jersey School Board Bans Reading of Haruki Murakami's Novel Norwegian Wood.

Knopf, Murakami's US publisher responds:

“We are disheartened to learn about the action by a New Jersey school district to remove a book from its required reading list due to objections from a group of concerned parents. The novel, NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami, was originally selected for the list based on suggestions by teachers, librarians, and administrators within the district, and the list was approved by the board of education. It is unfortunate the parents felt the need to dismiss such an important work of fiction and regrettable the school district would succumb to such pressure and disregard the recommendation of its own professional educators.”

More Details at: Knopf Responds to NJ School District’s Withdrawal of Murakami Novel from Reading List

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breath of Allah: Jamil Ahmad's "The Wandering Falcon"

by Gregg Chadwick

In his first work of fiction, The Wandering Falcon, Jamil Ahmad depicts a world caught between timeless paths of migration and geo-political modernity. Ahmad knits together a series of short stories that cover the life arc of one young man, Tor Baz - the wandering falcon of the title, as he journeys from infancy to manhood.

Inspired by his time as a civil service worker in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Ahmad writes of a world governed by clan and custom. During his time as a powerful emissary of the Pakistani government under the tribal region's frontier governing system, Jamil Ahmad simultaneously served as politician, police chief, judge, jury and executioner. Bits of this personal history are woven within the stories, including hints of Jamil's wife's German heritage. Environmentalist and activist Helga Ahmad was instrumental in encouraging her husband Jamil to move from  halting first attempts at poetry to richly crafted stories of people, place and borders.

The bleak landscapes in the book evoke a world of nomadic treks where human contact is brief and often violent, and where far western desert winds blows clouds of sand so thick that breath is priceless. The environment is unforgiving as is the justice doled out by tribe and government.

Jamil Ahmad finished The Wandering Falcon in 1973-74 but the stories did not find a publisher until this year. Penguin Books' decision to at last publish Jamil's stories is timely. Ahmad  believes that his stories evoke a vanishing world of tribes that the modern world must resonate and harmonize with: "Because frankly speaking, I still think that each one of us has a tribal gene inside, embedded inside. I really think that way."

                                                                         Jamil Ahmad

Jamil Ahmad hopes that deeper understanding of the tribes that once roamed freely between the far borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran could help end the wars that stain their mountains and valleys with blood. Reading The Wandering Falcon can help begin a process of understanding between the timeless nomadic life and the fragmenting borders of our post-modern society.

Our contemporary world has much to learn from the rhythms of the nomadic trail. I highly recommend Jamil Ahmad's magnificent book The Wandering Falcon.

Breath of Allah
Gregg Chadwick
Breath of Allah
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011

More at:
The Wandering Falcon's Site on

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Diasporist (Portrait of RB Kitaj)

The Diasporist (Portait of RB Kitaj)
Gregg Chadwick
The Diasporist (Portrait of RB Kitaj)
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011

The work of RB Kitaj continues to inspire and humble me in my artistic quest. His fervent questioning in print and paint acts as a beacon. He is greatly missed.

R. B. Kitaj (1932-2007) talks about the profound influence of C├ęzanne on his work.

The architect MJ Long on her friendship with RB Kitaj.

More at:
The Paris Review on RB Kitaj