Page after page after page after page of wonderful Murakami writing. I started reading this on the plane going for a holiday. I finished it 20 days laPage after page after page after page of wonderful Murakami writing. I started reading this on the plane going for a holiday. I finished it 20 days later on the plane back home. I was submerged for 3 weeks in the very well known world of Murakami. All the usual ingredients are there: a young independent, individual, isolated protagonist with a non-normal childhood (this time two protagonists!) finds his way in a strange magic world almost but not quite the world he knew.
I think I read most of Murakami's books and though I like Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood much better, this book didn't disappoint me. What I realised for the first time is that I really like the way Murakami's characters react to the magic world surrounding them. Not only in this book, in all books. They might be surprised at first or a bit scared, but somehow they always accept the new state of the world. They never fight it, deny it, are overwhelmed by it. They observe the new facts, let them sink in, and accept them.
I think that's what's wrong with most people (anytime, anywhere). Most people have a vision of the world 'as it should be' or 'as they would like it to be'. Whenever they are confronted with something that doesn't fit their image, they mentally collapse. Maybe not collapse, but most people find it difficult to handle the unexpected. Stuff that is not supposed to be. Murakami shows us that that approach is useless. Just accept the world around you as it is. There's always something beautiful. Something to take away. Something that makes you grow.
That said. I was really annoyed by two aspects of the book:
1. The Ayumi character. (view spoiler)[ I really disliked this character. She felt really un-Murakami, not at all a natural fit in the story. To me she appeared as a very extend deus ex machina. Very convenient character to connect a lot of dots. The way she died did it for me. That was too much. On the other hand, it meant she was gone from the story. (hide spoiler)]
2. The scene of Aomame with Leader in the hotel suite. (view spoiler)[ Same feeling as with the Ayumi character. The scene in the hotel room was pivotal but I think Leader spoke too much. All the mysteries were suddenly solved. All your suspicions were resolved within one chapter. I would have preferred to keep the reader less explicitly informed. Not as bad as the Ayumi character (the Leader character in itself is brilliant) but he said too much. Like an all knowing god. Not good (hide spoiler)]
The story itself is a real page turner. I never read a Murakami novel with so much suspense. That was nice.
If you're into Murakami, read it. If you're not into him, don't read it....more
It's Murakami, you know what you get and you know it will be great. From the first line you are drawn into this special Murakami world which doesn't cIt's Murakami, you know what you get and you know it will be great. From the first line you are drawn into this special Murakami world which doesn't compare to anything really.
This book is a tragic love story and fun enough to read. Not as good as some of his other works, hence the 4 stars. If you are just starting with Murakami, try 'Kafka on the shore' or 'Norwegian Wood'.
The end of the book, with it's reflections on reality, truth, the self (as identity and as relation to the other) almost made it give me 5 stars....more
this is the prequel to Dance, Dance, Dance. Well, prequel for me because I first read Dance, Dance, Dance and then this one.
As always with Murakami yothis is the prequel to Dance, Dance, Dance. Well, prequel for me because I first read Dance, Dance, Dance and then this one.
As always with Murakami you know what you'll get and it's not different this time. Ordinary, average people go through the most insane situations and accept them as everyday experiences.
Murakami has this talent in making the extraordinary seem natural and the natural, ordinary seem special. His descriptions of the food people eat, the clothes they wear and the music they listen to are trademark Murakami style.
This novel is really what the title says: it's about a guy and his girlfriend hunting down a sheep. Though hunting might not be the proper word as it's associated with the wrong connotation. I always feel serendipity plays a strong role in Murakami's novels. The main characters never show an obsession or blind focus on the (non-existing) goal but rather drift around with a careless attitude and let the world or environment determine their path.
If you're a Murakami fan you probably already read this. If not, do so....more
I didn't like this book. The writing style is terrible but that might be because of the translator (I read the Dutch version).
The so called critique oI didn't like this book. The writing style is terrible but that might be because of the translator (I read the Dutch version).
The so called critique on the shallowness of Japanese society fires back at the author by his childish, shallow psychological analysis of the main character(s). As a kid he drank his mother's blood, so that's why he became a monster. Please.
Moreover the background on Japanese society and culture/religion are also very shallow and non-interesting. It's all written like you would read in a magazine in the dentist's.
I finished the book because the plot is quite entertaining. So maybe the translation ruined most of the reading pleasure. I will try to read one of the authors books in English (I don't speak of read Japanese, unfortunately)....more
Got some trouble getting started but after 30 pages or so I just couldn't lay it down anymore. I love being in Murakami's world and this novel is undiGot some trouble getting started but after 30 pages or so I just couldn't lay it down anymore. I love being in Murakami's world and this novel is undistinguishably wrought by Murakami.
I didn't read 'The wild sheep chase' before this one. But since 'Dance, dance, dance' is a sequel to 'wild sheep chase' you'd better read that one first.
In this book Murakami (again) investigates the nature of human relationships and the difference between real and unreal. Two of the characters (Gotanda and Makimura) are part of a fake world (acting and writing). However, they are considered more real than reality (Gotanda is always chosen for 'trust' roles like teacher and doctor. Once he played a crook and his role got cancelled because the audience didn't consider him one). Moreover, both of them loath their own creative work.
Anyway, the story leaves room for lots of interpretations with a nice open ending. Just the way I like my novels to be....more
It must be clear that Murakami is one of my favourite writers. He just manages to hit my sweet spot somehow. Contrary to my expectations I did like thIt must be clear that Murakami is one of my favourite writers. He just manages to hit my sweet spot somehow. Contrary to my expectations I did like this book a lot. I read some negative reviews which made me maybe a bit biased before reading. But it turned out a pretty decent Murakami novel.
I always like to think of Murakami as a beer writer. Unlike wine, beer can never be really, really bad or make your head feel like you swallowed a bag of needles. Even if you buy the cheapest beer in the supermarket, you can be sure of a pleasant evening experience (or morning, or afternoon, depending on your position on the Bukowski scale). On the other hand, there is also really excellent, top class beer (please note that I am from The Netherlands with easy access to Belgium's treasures). If you buy the cheapest wine, lot's of things can happen, most of them not pleasant.
So Murakami is my literary beer: can be excellent top class but his worst performances will still provide enough quality for me to deeply enjoy his writing....more
Cleverly written frame story where all kinds of typical Murakami characters show up and tell there strangeIf you like Murakami, you'll like this book.
Cleverly written frame story where all kinds of typical Murakami characters show up and tell there strange stories which turn out to be interlinked (or not?).
It's got some philosophical thought about life, personality, loss and such, which I like. But somehow this is not my favourite Murakami novel. Sometimes I got the feeling that a storyline or character seemed too much wrought to gently fit in the story. I'd recommend Kafka on the Shore or Norwegian Wood which I found much more focussed, concise and to the point....more