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Rosbrow, T. (2012). Murakami's After the Quake—The Writer as Waking Dreamer and Trauma Analyst. Psychoanal. Dial., 22(2):215-227.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 22(2):215-227

Murakami's After the Quake—The Writer as Waking Dreamer and Trauma Analyst

Thomas Rosbrow, Ph.D.

In this paper I explore how Haruki Murakami depicts in profound and original images and nested stories the experience of traumatic dissociation and recovery. Murakami has an uncanny ability as a “waking dreamer” to capture and narratively elaborate core imagery. In his writings, he has examined the significance of imagination and dreaming in a person's bearing the complexity and multiplicity inherent in human existence. In “U.F.O. in Kushiro” the protagonist's reawakens from a numb, frozen state through a provocative encounter with someone who melts his frozen dissociation. There is a parallel to analytic working through of enactments stemming from trauma as described and elaborated by Bromberg.

Immersion in great imaginative literature can serve a restorative and generative purpose for the analyst-reader who so often has to wrestle with, and join, a patient's numbed, haunted adaptation to traumas, of the recent and distant past. Murakami's humor and evocativeness help me recover from the everyday depletion of clinical work on the edge of impasse. Literature and art help us regenerate and expand our capacity for complexity, imagination, and play in our daily practice and lives.

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