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Almost Transparent Blue

3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,234 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
Almost Transparent Blue is a brutal tale of lost youth in a Japanese port town close to an American military base. Murakami's image-intensive narrative paints a portrait of a group of friends locked in a destructive cycle of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The novel is all but plotless, but the raw and often violent prose takes us on a rollercoaster ride through reality and ha ...more
Paperback, 126 pages
Published December 12th 1978 by Kodansha (first published 1976)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 09, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-japanese
I put the thin fragment of glass, dripping blood, in my pocket, and ran out into the misty road. The doors and windows of the houses were shut, nothing was moving. I thought I'd been swallowed by a huge living thing, that I was turning around and around in its stomach like the hero of some fairy tale.

Almost Transparent Blue

A warning to any potential readers of this book. There is explicit, graphic sex in the first half of this novel. If you are prudish about group sex, alternative sex, or say s
(Soundtrack for this review)

Do you want to know what I don't give a shit about? This book.

I made it a little more than a quarter through it (35 pages to be exact). I found the writing to be blah (to be fair, I think it is the translation), the type to be a bit too small and the font to be faintly illegible. I dreaded having to go on break and read more of this book, and did internal backflips when I noticed the a new Harpers just went on sale before I went on break and saw there was a new DFW
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Time to get stoned! This novel can put you in a catatonic torpor, a drug-induced haze near the point where you are about to overdose and die.

First person narrative, here is someone named Ryu, not yet twenty, with his equally-young male and female buddies. Ryu is telling a story. You hear him, but do not really understand the story being told. The images will distract you and catch your full attention.

First there's this cockroach on some unwashed dishes. Then it is squashed. See the jelly-like su
Ben Loory
Dec 15, 2009 Ben Loory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i liked Piercing and i loved In the Miso Soup, but i found this book (his first) just mind-numbingly boring. there's one point where the guy (it took me about 80 pages to decide that the narrator was a guy; even the talk of his penis never really convinced me) talks about the movie he'd like to make, which is simply a huge mirror that reflects back the audience... that was about the only moment in the book that seemed to show a little imagination (though let's be honest, not that much). i'm all ...more
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

I've never touched a drug a day in my life, yet this book has me contemplating checking myself into a rehab facility.

In all seriousness though, the author writing is riveting.Almost Transparent Blue is raw, gritty and shows the reader a realistic day in the life of an addict(s) (at least I think so).... Hell, I felt like a creepy spectator watching the junkie games. ** cringe**

So the morale of the story folks----> Drugs will turn you into a stinky, sticky and
Sean Wilson
I'm sure we all go through these moments in life, where we end up in a dark pit of frustration and fear, wondering where we should be or go, what we should do, why we are here. We, whether religious or atheist, have our moments where we feel as if life is without meaning, that we are simply an overly self conscious mammal that walks, talks, breathes and finally dies without feeling like we have accomplished much in our short lives. These moments are brief, yet during these precise moments, they ...more
It will take a bit of digestion to form a coherent response to this book. The first half was a drag. Violent sex and drug use depicted with skilled, lovely prose, a special focus on body fluids. The only factors that kept me reading were the shortness of the book and the author's skill, because these first sixty pages were deathly boring.

In the second half, something like a story of a dark personal transformation begins to emerge. Free of the blizzard of pills and orgies, the writing focuses on
Jun 24, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Junkies, Losers and Burnouts
Recommended to Chloe by: Matt Darnell
Those who know me are well aware that I have an almost visceral love of twisted literature. Books that are the literary equivalent of a car crash; hedonistic revels that fade into subterranean nightmares. In other words, such extreme excess that you can't help but approach them with a mixture of sick curiosity and nearly overwhelming trepidation. For the longest time that has meant the blasted imaginations of my trifecta of favorite authors (Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh and Bret Easton Ellis) and occ ...more
Jul 12, 2010 Jasmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
John and Seth should not read this book.

right this book is about sex and drugs and it doesn't really have a plot. But I mean if you like books about drugs and really graphic descriptions of violent psedorape are your thing I say go for it. There is also a fun lsd feel to the book if you can get over the other stuff.
Nov 04, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, translation
Female News Host #1: On a personal note, that shit was fucked up!
News Co-Host #1: Yeah it was. I literally pissed myself.

Those words may well be from an entirely different medium but they essentially capture the blasé attitude of the characters in Ryu Murakami's debut novel. And on a personal note, that shit really was fucked up!

A plotless look at the lives of a group of friends who have partied way too hard for way too long and are now living a destructive lifestyle but don't really seem to car
Maru Kun
Good for students of Japanese wanting to expand their vocabulary around drug-taking, vomiting and rough sex. I rarely participate in two of these three activities, so for me the book was of limited utility.

This book was a controversial shocker when it first came out but I don’t see why it was ever quite so popular. I think it reflected a lifestyle which Japanese people of that age secretly envied, when they weren't too busy with their math homework. Seriously, who takes drugs listening to the Ro
Aug 06, 2012 Erik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don’t have much to say about this brief and rather shallow debut, which details the squalid sex-and-drug-fueled existences of a group of young Japanese lowlifes/layabouts in the 1970s, except that it’s lurid, grotesque, delirious, disturbing, and oddly compelling. (I say “compelling,” but my readerly propulsion through the book may simply have been my desire to escape from these sordid characters and their dead-end lives as soon as possible). I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone or ever re ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
As soon as I had read the first page, I knew that I had read “Almost Transparent Blue” at least once many years ago. Even though the weighty & lengthy TBR shelf chides me, I read it through on a long train ride. And I am glad I did. I know like and appreciate this more more than I did before.

This is Murakami-san’s first novel written in his youth about even younger youths. Is it autobiographical? I don’t know and don’t recall anyone ever saying so definitively. The main character shares his
May 31, 2015 մարիօ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Հա, եկա ասելու, որ ինձ դուր են գալիս էն գրքերը, որոնք իրենց մեջ յուրահատուկ գույն ունեն, էնպես, ինչպես օրինակ ընկերներիցս մեկին ասում էի, որ լեհական կինոն մանուշակագույն է ու չէի կարողանում բացատրել, թե ինչի, ճապոնական գրականությունն էլ գույն ունի՝ մուգ կապույտ է, կարդալուց ուղղակի մեջս ավելանում էր էդ կապույտը, երևի գրքի վերնագրից ու ոճից էլ էր:Բայց հոգնեցնող էր մի տեսակ, լավ է գոնե կարճ էր, չձանձրացա, երկար լիներ, հաստատ չէի կարդա: Հա, մեկ էլ ամբողջ ընթացքում պատկերացնում էի, թե ի՜նչ սիրուն ֆի ...more
Jan 27, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird-lit
Published in Japan in 1976, this book turned into a Naked Lunch sort of drug-lit phenom. At times, I felt like the violent sex was a bit overdone and I leaned toward a 3-star rating, but there are enough great sentences and amazing imagery to push it to a 4. Ryu takes a lot of chances here--no sturdy plot, odd moments of melancholy, some repugnant scenes, too many characters--but it comes together more often than not, and I was so intrigued by the end, I went and read all the amazon reviews just ...more
Sep 29, 2014 Matias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suerte que me dejé de las drogas, la decadencia de los personajes de Azul casi Transparente es perturbadora. El nihilismo rampante de Ryu y sus amigos, sumada a las descripciones de su alucinaciones bajo el efecto de todo tipo de drogas puede ser chocante para algunos. Pero la lectura a pesar de su crudeza es genial, que se ve favorecida por la brevedad del relato. Vamos por Sopa de Miso.
Jan 15, 2008 amelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes it's violent and depraved. Yes it has graphic scenes of brutal sex and drug use. In the end I think it's about profound loneliness and detachment, the search to feel something real despite or through all those extremes.
The way the kids let themselves be violated by the military is, I think, a representation/ analogy.
The scenes with Ryu and his old friend are heartbreaking.
Una Theia
Apr 13, 2012 Una Theia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disgusting, japanese
Big WTF.
Sau, mai bine zis, un căcat.
Էն մեծ թռչունը, որը Րյուի քաղաքն էր, տարբեր գույների լույսերը, որ անընդհատ առարկաների վրա էին ընկնում ու գունավորում, վերջապես էն միջատները, ապակու կտորն ու համարյա թափանցիկ կապույտը ^^ Հետաքրքիր նստվածք թողեց: Ու լիքը սիրուն տեսարաններ կային ( ծանր էրոտիկան էլ չհաշված)

– Ты хочешь сказать, что нужно поэкспериментировать с ЛСД? Я не понимаю, что тебе нужно.

– Я и сам не до конца это понимаю. Я не знаю, чем мне следует заняться. Но я не собираюсь отправляться ни в Индию, ни куда-либо еще, я никуда
Patrick McCoy
Feb 13, 2012 Patrick McCoy rated it it was ok
Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami is a short novel, only 128 pages. But it was also quite a strange novel; the beginning was full of raunchy sex, massive drug taking, and the expulsion of all types of bodily fluids. It doesn't settle down much as a group of Japanese friends take drugs, fight, and deal with existential dread. I guess it caused quite a stir when it was written more than 30 years ago. I think it follows from the tradition of Osamu Dazai, who was another self-destructive writi ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Hyperliteratura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Romanul de debut al lui Ryu Murakami descrie fotografic, prin prisma personajului Ryu, un grup de tineri japonezi dependenți de stupefiante de-a lungul unei săptămâni. Romanul se încheie ca un apel, o scrisoare a naratorului către fosta iubită, pe care o roagă să îl caute dacă citește această carte.

Nu se face nici o incursiune profundă în emoții, se descriu exterioarele, oamenii, ploaia, narațiunea are un calm care transcende duritatea concretului lumesc prezentat (ah, concret până la sânge!).

Mar 31, 2007 Scott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the deranged
The Other Murakami's oeuvre really wavers in quality. Almost Transparent Blue is hopefully the lower limit.

There were tons of digusting sex and drug scenes, and I don't think I'm some stuck up old prune (ok, maybe I do), but lots of it was just uncalled for.

I don't mind if you want to paint a picture of your days in the gutter, that's fine... but if you're going to subject me to little Japanese girls getting dicked bloody by a group of huge (huge) guys, please move the story to a satisfying conc
Hoàng Linh
Jan 27, 2014 Hoàng Linh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quay cuồng. Điên dại. Mất phương hướng. Chán nản. Bế tắc. Cô đơn.

Họ là những con người có lẽ cũng tầm tuổi như mình thôi, nhưng họ sống buồn quá.

Họ khiến mình vừa sợ vừa thương. Sợ vì họ sống buông thả, họ sống trái với luân thương đạo lý, họ là những kẻ đánh mất linh hồn. Thương vì đằng sau họ là những hoang mang, vô định, không biết mình là ai trong cái xã hội quay cuồng đó, họ cô đơn, họ đau.

Truyện ngắn, nhưng ám ảnh. Gấp sách rồi mình chỉ biết thở dài. Ngoài kia, biết bao nhiêu người như
Imbyr Unfortunately
For all the sex, gore and drugs in this book it sure is a fucking snoozefest.
Apr 01, 2015 BlueBird rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 zapravo.
Un lector contemporáneo
Sensaciones alcoholizadas en la bruma de las drogas.
Jan 23, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japanese
I almost stopped reading this after the first few pages, and when I reluctantly decided I'd read the whole thing, I felt pretty sure I wouldn't read any more of Ryū Murakami. But somehow, by the time i reached the end I was incredibly impressed, and want to read more.

There isn't much plot - the story is about a set of young characters who take drugs and have sex, often violent sex, swapping partners, etc. The descriptions are very vivid and sensual - you get the smells, the details of bodily flu
Gertrude & Victoria
I was disappointed with Ryu Murakami's Almost Transparent Blue; even my modest expecations were betrayed.

I found much of the storyline too explict, gratuitous and repetitive, with little redeeming value. There were too many characters, doing too much romping and too many lines, which was all too hard to swallow - a jumble of flesh and powder without meaning or taste. But, if you have a penchant for "sex, drugs and rock n roll," you may want to give this a try.

Ryu Murakami was something of a cult
Lamski Kikita
Dec 07, 2011 Lamski Kikita rated it liked it
This is not a book for those who can't handle a little sex and violence. I believe many people would not be able to face those, drop the book, and therefore miss the beautiful parts of it.

There's no denying that people have stereotypical images of Japan; cherry blossoms and samurai warriors, or super smart men in suites and girls in Hello Kitty goth clothes. This book reflects a reality that maybe no one wants to know; that of the youth on the margin of Japanese society.

There are many characters
Dec 29, 2013 Cal rated it it was amazing
Truly an underground classic. Though it is set in Japan and is
in many ways heavily influenced by such, it is so far underground, the experimental literary qualities transcend the limits of any such regional style.
The usual trappings of underground themes are drugs, sex, and politics. ATB almost seems to lack for overt politics. Near the end however looms The Bomb as big as a building. It is brought up twice in very short setences. But other than that covert polical issue, we have an abscence o
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Ryū Murakami (村上 龍) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker. He is not related to Haruki Murakami or Takashi Murakami.

Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some ob
More about Ryū Murakami...

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“Yeah, he'd said, maybe it's just my idea, but really it always hurts, the times it don't hurt is when we just forget, we just forget it hurts, you know, it's not just because my belly's all rotten, everybody always hurts. So when it really starts stabbing me, somehow I feel sort of peaceful, like I'm myself again.” 14 likes
“And just because I've written this book, don't think I've changed. I'm like I was back then, really.” 13 likes
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