A short essay by Haruki Murakami, from the book Murakami Radio.
I went to see the movie The Cider House Rules. It was written by John Irving who based it off his own novel, and it won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. It’s a beautifully crafted, moving piece of art. The novel was way too long, and even worse had some overbearingly preachy sections. But sure enough they cut out all those parts for the movie version and I really liked the new tone. Granted, the length and preachiness of Irving’s original work is what drew people to it in the first place, but I didn’t miss it at all.
Many of the world’s most successful novelists have tried to cross over into screenplays: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Capote, Chandler, even Raymond Carver. And yet John Irving was the first to win Best Screenplay. None of them had it within them to give their stories even the slightest hint of a happy ending when they adapted their works for the screen. I think it’s a big deal that Irving broke the curse. I’m happy he did.
The Cider House Rules is a captivating, enjoyable movie, but to tell you the truth all I could think about as I watched it was how much I wanted to eat apples. The movie is about an apple orchard and there’s shot after shot of delicious looking apples. Once I started thinking about eating one myself my mouth didn’t stop watering for the rest of the movie. It had been a long time since I’d wanted an apple that bad. It’s a must-see movie for anyone who likes apples (and I’m pretty sure that’s everybody).
As a fan of firm apples with a sour bite I eat a lot of Jonathan apples when I’m in Japan, but I exclusively ate McIntoshes when I lived in Boston. McIntosh apples (known as “Morning Suns” in Japan) were some of the cheapest apples in the US, and I’d pick up whole grocery bags of them from the supermarket for a couple bucks. I ate them every day without ever getting tired of them. I’d peel them and make apple and celery salads. I associate my time in Boston with the comforting deep crimson color of McIntosh apples.
It’s a pure coincidence that I’m a Macintosh computer user. They’re spelled slightly differently: McIntosh apples vs. Macintosh computers. In the morning I grab an apple from my kitchen on the way to my study, turn on my Apple computer that has a logo of an apple, and wait for it to boot up as I sit there in the dawn’s light. I chew on my sour red apple. I feel motivated to work on my novel again today. This has been my routine for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, nothing against Windows, but I don’t intend to switch away from Mac. Windows simply doesn’t have a little picture of an apple on it.