Despite knowing the outcome of the central mystery, it was still worthwhile getting to know some of the characters better, particularly Lisbeth. The w...moreDespite knowing the outcome of the central mystery, it was still worthwhile getting to know some of the characters better, particularly Lisbeth. The writing itself is awfully dry, but that may be the translation, and I wasn't expecting much. I was curious beforehand about how graphic the book would be in describing the rapes and other gruesome details, especially as compared to seeing them portrayed in the two movie versions. The book could at once be less and more graphic. And while Lisbeth is an intriguing character, Mikael is definitely too much of a superhero or "perfect" guy--the character men are meant to identify with since all the chicks dig him and we ladies are meant to love. You know, because he doesn't hate women.(less)
A just-unique-enough book, and the kind that makes you realize that in so many cases, families are alike almost everywhere. Interesting (and successfu...moreA just-unique-enough book, and the kind that makes you realize that in so many cases, families are alike almost everywhere. Interesting (and successful) use of second person, multiple character points-of-view, and through those povs and the book's structure, a careful unfolding of the story that makes you see the characters from different angles, none more than the missing mom. Lots of great stuff in terms of family dynamics (obviously), generation gaps, gender, and motherhood. This is yet another book I wish I could give three-and-a-half stars too because I really did enjoy it; it's just not the type of book that I love or will particularly stay with me.(less)
I'm not going to pretend I understand every last idea in this book, every last bit about what's going on (or what's not going on), but the thing is, I...moreI'm not going to pretend I understand every last idea in this book, every last bit about what's going on (or what's not going on), but the thing is, I don't care; it doesn't matter. I still loved every minute of my experience reading this book, and there are so few books that truly feel like an experience. If you've read Murakami before, you'll know what I mean, and you'll know what you're in for. If you haven't, and you're comfortable with the surreal, with metaphysical goings-on, he's so worthwhile it's hard to overstate.
Beyond or anchoring the ideas and dreams and such are the characters, pretty much all of whom are people you love spending time with. And Murakami's sense of humor doesn't hurt, nor does a pervading sense of humanity. I also loved the specificity of detail, in terms of things like music, and physicality, food, bodies.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was a lot of fun (in a demented way, of course), and I found myself marveling at the author's plotting (figuring out pacing, ho...more**spoiler alert** This was a lot of fun (in a demented way, of course), and I found myself marveling at the author's plotting (figuring out pacing, how/when to kill off 42 students, each one's little story, etc.). I was a little annoyed by all the lead-up to Shinji's plan that didn't even get executed, and I know that was part of the point, but for nothing really to have been done with that (besides trying to blow up The Terminator, i.e. Kazuo)? I'm glad it was Noriko in the end who shot Kazuo because I was getting sick of her just being The Girl, perpetually wounded and supporting the other guys and mooning over Shuya (like practically every other girl, jeeze). Especially when there were other kick-ass girls (my favorite being Takako, track star), even if one was pretty crazy (Mitsuko).
The various weapons, fights, interactions and relationships between the students were inventive, and there were constant surprises. Like I said, a lot of demented fun, and also moments of real sadness (e.g. "No, not THAT person!").(less)