Moon Palace: In Search of Home

Paul Austerポール・オースター『ムーン・パレス』日本語訳(Japanese translation)

This post is going to examine something different from literary pieces I have introduced so far. For one thing, its’s not a Japanese one. Secondly, it’s a modern work of literature. It’s called “Moon Place” by Paul Auster and tells much about the concept of “Home”, which we have long discussed in this series. The story is about a young man, in search of the key facts about his past, whose journey through life encompasses living wild as a vagrant in Central park, then as a live-in helper to an eccentric old man and eventually a quest into the deserts of Utah, for his identity. It starts with:


It was the summer that men first walked on the moon. I was very young back then, but I did not believe there would ever be a future. I wanted to live dangerously, to push myself as far as I could go, and then see what happened to me when I got there.Moon Palace by Paul Auster


The story is characterized by the underlying mystery of serendipity. His life propelled by coincidence and chance meeting with characters more or less on the verge of aloneness. It’s a description of life that is far from linear. The moment a clue of existence comes into sight, even tragedy and loss stepped in, which leave you feel unsettled and desolate. Your attempt to take control of your life is betrayed by misfortune and a subsequent survival situation. Despite the desire for orderliness in our everyday modern lives, we are increasingly and inevitably exposed to randomness as we encounter a wide range of values and ideas.


This potentially disorienting experience doesn’t make much sense to you if you are too uptight about rationality. But the riddle of your fate is too elusive to solve. With more and more plural viewpoints and diverse interpretations of social reality available, we are open to more sources of identity. All the days and years we have spent, all the people and events we have come across are the source of our life story. One thing we can do is to piece together our pasts so that we can see the possibility of a future.


Strongly Related
Vagabond: Lyricism of Kokinshu