Edit: After thinking it through for a few days, I actually came to appreciate this novel even more than before. Whereas I initially missed the "weaved...moreEdit: After thinking it through for a few days, I actually came to appreciate this novel even more than before. Whereas I initially missed the "weaved" style Murakami uses in his other works, I now greatly appreciate his technique for this book. It definitely increased the reality of it—such a thing could happen to any chump anywhere. And other than the random foreshadowing, you wouldn't have been any more aware of it than Aoyama, the main character, until things became royally fucked up. Perfect for the story.
I have to admit this was not my most favorite of Murakami's work. Perhaps it's the difference in style—I much prefer how he intertwines normality with sadistic scheming that I've found in Piercing and Popular Hits of the Showa Era—rather than this much more lighthearted tale ending in abrupt chaos and disorder. Still, this style can be interpreted as a metaphor to what the main character experienced. I believe it was also a very relatable piece, by the simple fact that we've all experienced the blind ambition that accompanies a new love interest. Also, I greatly appreciate that Murakami didn't overindulge in that new-love feeling, which I typically find to be overdone in literature. It is never at any point lackluster however, especially in the climax which I believe most readers will shudder through.
Definitely a must read if you're a Murakami fan.(less)
I didn't read the summary beforehand, so I was very surprised by the plot. However, even those scenes were so artfully written I didn't find them too...moreI didn't read the summary beforehand, so I was very surprised by the plot. However, even those scenes were so artfully written I didn't find them too disturbing. Due to amazing work by both the author and translator, this text flows so smoothly, I honestly read the entire book in two goes, and would have read it in one if I had the time to do so. It's a very quick read because of its superb flowing quality, and the details don't suffer for it. I found that taste and sounds were especially emphasized over sight, which is an obvious predominant feature of most novels. Even if erotica or BDSM aren't your thing, definitely read this book; it's very tasteful and artistic.(less)
I received this copy from Byron in a giveaway quite a while ago, and he was very kind to sign it. To be honest, I had incredibly low expectations for...moreI received this copy from Byron in a giveaway quite a while ago, and he was very kind to sign it. To be honest, I had incredibly low expectations for this novel and the 300 pages looked daunting. Ultimately I wish I had read it as soon as it arrived as it pretty much blew my mind.
The summary above is a poor forewarning of what you're about to encounter. While all the statements are correct, this novel is much more ridiculous and intense than the summary suggests. Linus and his friends are lowlifes who get drunk and high with inhuman frequency and have such few concerns about their unavoidable responsibilities will cause most readers to guffaw in disbelief while their eyes continue to hungrily absorb more of the text.
The format will undoubtedly annoy some readers but personally it flowed so rapidly and drew me in even further. Byron completely ignored the age old rules regarding dialogue and chose to not include quotation marks and line breaks, yet surprisingly this distracted me very little and only twice did I have to reread a section to be sure I was correctly understanding who said what. I've never seen this before yet it fits perfectly with the general theme and especially Linus' character; jumbled and flowing aimlessly one way then another. I also especially appreciated the frequent breaks in text between one blip to the next which allowed me to stop whenever I pleased instead of pushing on to the next chapter as I tend to do.
The character development—or undevelopment, hah—was truly great. Byron refrains from outright describing the characters and instead you come to know Linus and everyone he encounters quite well through their misadventures. Though the physical descriptors are essentially not there at all, you really get a good grasp on their personalities in such a way that's rare.
The actual plot of this novel slowly creeps up on you while you're up to your neck in Linus' inebriated adventures—which never get old or repetitive by the way, thanks to Byron's very tasteful word choice and dry sarcasm which I couldn't get enough of—and is drawn out over the 300 pages. I feel that it was woven into the story in such a way that once you hit the rising action it's like a shock to the system. All the sudden, shit gets real and Linus has to man up or go insane over the mystery while his friends continue their crazed escapades. As I approached the conclusion, I still had no guesses to how it all would end but I was not disappointed in the least. I felt it paralleled the lost Linus you come to know very intimately, so when you close the back cover you yourself will feel as if you've just stepped off the crazy train back to reality.
That was some trip. Thank you for your generosity; this copy will be forcibly passed onto my reading friends who will hopefully enjoy the wild ride just as much as I did.(less)
Exceptional piece that everyone should read at least once to get a small glimpse of what life can be like for someone who self harms, and their means...moreExceptional piece that everyone should read at least once to get a small glimpse of what life can be like for someone who self harms, and their means of recovery through institutionalization. McCormick puts the reader through the virtually unexplainable feelings of euphoria and rush of endorphins associated with cutting in a clear manner so that almost anyone can mentally experience it. The reading is easy and possibly middle school level, but its ease does not bore for even more advanced readers. While it may not dissuade anyone from self harm, it might change some people's viewpoint on the issue.(less)
As per usual, I feel conflicted about this novel. While the majority of it was quite good and I thoroughly enjoyed the style, the end left me very dis...moreAs per usual, I feel conflicted about this novel. While the majority of it was quite good and I thoroughly enjoyed the style, the end left me very disappointed. Also, I'm not sure if it was the translation style or also written as such in Japanese, but I felt that often the words were weak and poorly chosen. The strength of the plot distracts you from that after a while, however. It's really a driven story.
I especially found the way that Kirino switched between characters quite tasteful. She did it so artfully that it wasn't annoying nor did the scenes overlap repetitively, until the very final scene that is. Looking back, it almost feels like a dance now.
I felt that throughout the majority of the book Satake and Masako were the strongest characters. I was heavily disappointed by their actions at the conclusion. (view spoiler)[First of all, I could understand how Masako felt scared, angry, and even pitied Satake. However, her feelings shifted to affection and longing and I definitely couldn't understand that at all. It actually made me incredibly frustrated, because Kirino leads us to believe that Masako is incredibly strong and independent, yet she suddenly turns submissive and needy for a man who raped and attempted to murder her? I realize the "connection" was their vileness, but it didn't add up to me. Satake's end was more believable, but it's silly how one slice to the cheek made him want to curl up and die... I can understand how his passion to kill Masako faded, but it was quite pathetic to say the least.
I felt the end could have potentially been better by Satake murdering Masako and going on with his crazed ways or something. (hide spoiler)] Whatever the case, the conclusion just felt very weak in comparison to the 400 pages of buildup. Still a good book though for its journey.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This one is definitely staying in my collection for good. Although this is nothing like Levine's Dharma Punx, he still has quite a way with words that...moreThis one is definitely staying in my collection for good. Although this is nothing like Levine's Dharma Punx, he still has quite a way with words that makes the basics of Buddhism quite simple. Most of this book is made up of drawn out explanations, and then in the final chapter he sums them each up as far as down to a sentence each.
If you don't understand the basics after reading this, it's worth a second read. I am going to read it again myself, since it's a great refresher whether you're new to Buddhism or not. Even though I enjoy Brad Warner's books because they make my head spin, they simply do not touch Buddhism in the way that Levine does; and in much fewer pages to say the least. The short length of this book compared to other basic ones does not hinder it at all.
So if you have read Dharma Punx or are a fan of similar authors, or are even interested in what the very basics of Buddhism are about, you definitely have to give this one a shot. You won't be disappointed.(less)
Even though I am in love with fantasy novels, I have to admit this is my favorite book of all time. I can read it over and over again and still learn...moreEven though I am in love with fantasy novels, I have to admit this is my favorite book of all time. I can read it over and over again and still learn something new about Buddhism or find something that impacts me.
While I don't think that Hesse's goal was to convert his readers to Buddhism, or even really teach Buddhism through a piece of fiction, I've found this novel just as educational as many Buddhist guides. The teachings are very subtle, but they are there loud and clear if you open your heart to the words.
Even if you are not interested in Buddhism, "Siddhartha" is such an amazing tale of maturation that you *WILL* be inspired by it. It is impossible to not take something from this book. Race, age, gender, and creed make no difference. Prepare to be touched.
This is the greatest tale of all time. It changed my life for sure.(less)