Reconstructivist Art – The 100% Perfect Story

In honor of the release of his newest book, Killing Commendatore, please enjoy this repost of Haruki Murakami’s On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning considered as an example of Reconstructivist Art

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl… is possibly master storyteller Haruki Murakami’s finest short story, a nearly perfect example of depth combined with extreme brevity (and a main inspiration for my own Murakami parody, “The Mysterious Disappearance of the Strangely Beautiful Woman“). It’s also an example of Reconstructivist Art:

    1. Nod to Artifice: With a typically nested Reconstructivist structure, Murakami’s story centers around a fanciful, invented narrative, a modern fairy tale about two fated lovers, embedded in a frame story about two complete strangers passing on the street.

    2. Classic Structure: The inner story in this case is a classic tragic love story: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy nearly regains girl but fails.

    3. Transcontextual and Iconic Elements: Murakami’s work inevitably is strewn with pop-culture allusions, but in this case, the strongest transcontextual icon is the repetition of the phrase “100% perfect,” with its mathematical precision and advertisement-like hyperbole.

    4. Moments of Genuine Emotion or Significance: Despite the romance in the nested story being entirely invented and implausible, untold, and ineffective, one leaves this brief story believing utterly both in its deeper truth and in its power to alter reality. Murakami here shows the magic of storytelling in its least deniable form, as a meaningless missed encounter between two strangers is transformed by the power of narrative into something deeply sad, meaningful, and fated.

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