So I learned a lot while I read this little memoir. One, Murakami is a really interesting guy, though he would probably disagree and tell me that 1) hSo I learned a lot while I read this little memoir. One, Murakami is a really interesting guy, though he would probably disagree and tell me that 1) he is not all that interesting and 2) most people probably wouldn't like his personality. Okay. He DID say #2.
Murakami writes a memoir like he writes his book. He is the most deliberate author I've read much of. He has a style that is very simple: statement, clarification, example, repeat.
I guess it works for me.
This book is about Murakami as a runner. And a writer. Turns out these two things are entwined. Both are methodical practices. Measured, thought out.
Not a lot to say here. I like Murakami, and I liked this book. I feel like I gained some perspective from this little life-glimpse.
Wish the book made me a runner... but that would be a miracle beyond the powers of even Mr. Murakami....more
The beginning? Ugh. 2nd person is just not my favorite point of view, and it didn't help that each chapter I was suppoThis book varied wildly for me.
The beginning? Ugh. 2nd person is just not my favorite point of view, and it didn't help that each chapter I was supposed to be another person. It took a long time to figure out what the heck I was reading. The pain of stunt-ridden prose eased over time, though. I guess even the most awkward stretches gets easier with practice.
The middle got more interesting and I found that I was okay with how it was going. The plot was a bit thick, but okay. The characters were fine, and I was moving along at a pretty good clip. Even enjoyed myself.
And then, the end. When an author has to spend ten pages at the end explaining the entire plot, well, my mind glazes and my brain goes to have a drink while my eyes dutifully run through line after line of plot summary. I was so glad when it was over....more
I liked this book a lot. It's not a stand-alone novel - which knocks it down a star for me - but it is a solid entry into what could be a very cool trI liked this book a lot. It's not a stand-alone novel - which knocks it down a star for me - but it is a solid entry into what could be a very cool trilogy. The world is complex and well-planned, different from your typical fantasy setting. It plays with all sorts of social questions (race? politics? gender?) without pulling out the soapbox. And, the characters are pretty dang good. I expect we'll get to know them more deeply in future installments. The story takes some time to develop - in fact, I'd say that this book is mostly set up - what the world is like, what the social conflicts are, and what the plot is going to be. Often, the "book one as introduction" model irritates me; I tend to want more plot in each novel, so that it has an arc of its own. However, there is enough discovery in this novel to accept that we're really just beginning.
I'm not going to go into details in re: characters, as that's kind of a spoiler. It took me a bit to figure out who was who, but I did, before the story got there. I liked that. Enough textual clues to put stuff together and make the reveal make sense, but not so much as to project an assumption that the reader is stupid.
A chunk of this novel is written in second person, which is interesting to me since the last book I read was entirely told in 2nd person - a fact that ruined the novel and yielded bummer of a review. (Okay - helped ruined. There were many flaws in that book.) There's some pretty deft slight of word here, though, and about halfway through I realized that the 2nd person wasn't bugging me. This surprised me. I went back and reread things, to see how she did it. And then I re-read it again. Dang it. I think it may have even improved my experience of this book (I'm not confident enough to commit to this opinion, though. We'll see how I feel in book two, if she continues with the 2nd person POV.).
Upfront: loved this book. It's a twisty little thing, with so many different stories within stories within stories (can come up with 7 without breakinUpfront: loved this book. It's a twisty little thing, with so many different stories within stories within stories (can come up with 7 without breaking a mental sweat...), many stories twisting back - not to the Tiger's Wife, but, most often, to Grandpa.
He's the central figure in this book.
I love a book that dances with magical realism. And yes - this book just dances with it. We never see the narrator actually accept the "magical" as real; she hears stories, but never does she really *know* what the deathless man is. Is he real? Is the Tiger's Wife real? Are they all just stories of her grandfather, told to intrigue his wayward granddaughter?
Obreht doesn't tell you. I like it that way.
(Thought: I'm astounded at how many people completely panned this novel on Goodreads because 1) she's young, 2) the book got too much hype, and 3) they don't like that she's blonde. Oh, and, um, "I didn't get it. What's the point?