the sighing of a disemboweled animal


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
With its high ceiling and muted lighting, the capacious lobby of the Hotel Okura’s main building seemed like a huge, stylish cave. Against the cave walls, like the sighing of a disemboweled animal, bounced the muted conversations of people seated on the lobby’s sofas.
(H. Murakami; Jay Rubin; Philip Gabriel; 1Q84)

Would you be so kind to help me understand how this simile fits into the 'whole picture'?

  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I doubt that the reader is invited to compare the sonar waves from a disembowelled animal with the sound in the lobby in a kind of scientific thought experiment.

    More likely the effect that the atmosphere in the lobby has on someone (may be the author or a character in the story) is similar to the effect that the sight and sound of a disembowelled animal would have - maybe a sense of horror and disgust.


    Senior Member
    American English
    I think it's simply a comparison of two sounds: the soft exhalation of a dying animal (disembowelment causing more speechless surprise and resignation than rage and shocked screaming) and the murmur of muted, likely unintelligible, sound of low conversation. Obviously the comparison is meant to be dark.


    Senior Member
    And of course the hotel is being compared to a cave, and an animal (disemboweled or not) is likely to be found in a cave.
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