Out of all of Murakami’s short stories, this one is my favourite. (Out of his novels, my favourite is Kafka on the Shore.) It’s been years since I’ve read it, and there’s many parts that I’ve forgotten, but its residue is there. It was one of those stories that perfectly captured a mood I wasn’t even aware I was searching for yet. I didn’t understand it fully at the time, and I found it hard to describe, but a new obsession had been awakened in me. After reading this story (and others like it) I wanted more of its aesthetic. I guess it’s the sort of feeling you’d generally associate with Magic Realism. Even though On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning isn’t a Magic Realist story itself, most of Murakami’s stories are, and so it does have the atmosphere of one. In Magic Realism, strange things gently become part of everyday life. This story is about normality, with the suggestion of ambiguity.
One of my favourite things to do is wander around cities and watch people from a distance. There’s something nice about seeing ordinary people doing ordinary things. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a city, so my chances to do this are rare. Recently, though, I got to go to London for a few days, and spent almost the whole time there walking and watching. Sometimes, I was struck by how perfect certain people looked. By that, I don’t mean their appearance was flawless; rather, they just looked like they were perfectly suited to living an ordinary life in the city. They were boring, but not in a negative way. Whenever I see people like that, I wish I could be them, or at least be like them. And this short story reminds me of those people.