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Killing Commendatore

(Kishidancho Goroshi #1-2)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  38,821 ratings  ·  4,522 reviews
The epic new novel from the internationally acclaimed and best-selling author of 1Q84

In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious ci
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published February 24th 2017)
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Jennifer Yes!!! I've read every bit of his fiction. I can't wait. And 1Q84 is possibly one of the best things I've ever read. Always played Janacek's Sifoniett…moreYes!!! I've read every bit of his fiction. I can't wait. And 1Q84 is possibly one of the best things I've ever read. Always played Janacek's Sifonietta when reading it for the full effect. (less)
Helia Rethmann I hear you, Chad Smartt. If this were Murakami's first novel, it would have a hard time finding a publisher, is my guess, and if it did the publisher …moreI hear you, Chad Smartt. If this were Murakami's first novel, it would have a hard time finding a publisher, is my guess, and if it did the publisher would advise him to cut the novel by a third. All this "And then I went to the cupboard and took out a plate, and I put my tuna sandwich on the plate and carried the plate with the sandwich on it to the living room where I sat down on the red couch to eat it." But as Murakami fans know, this incredibly dull passage will soon be followed by a hole in the ground opening up and swallowing the narrator whole. Or an 'idea' will appear in the form of the two-foot Commendatory from the picture he found and challenge his perceptions. Maybe the juxtaposition of dull mundanity and all-out weirdness is what keeps Murakami fans going? (less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  38,821 ratings  ·  4,522 reviews

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Sean Barrs
I am so unbelievably disappointed with this book. What should I talk about first, the bland characters, the flat plot or the convoluted prose? Either way it stank of mediocrity.

This doesn’t feel like a Murakami novel. It doesn’t sound like a Murakami novel and it doesn’t act like one. I went back and read certain passages from After Dark and breathed in (once again) the beautifully rhythmic nature of the prose. It just flows from one sentence to the next, from word to word, forming a story that
Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-japanese
”Our lives really do seem strange and mysterious when you look back on them. Filled with unbelievably bizarre coincidences and unpredictable, zigzagging developments. While they are unfolding, it’s hard to see anything weird about them, no matter how closely you pay attention to your surroundings. In the midst of the everyday, these things may strike you as simply ordinary things, a matter of course. They might not be logical, but time has to pass before you can see if something is logical.” ...more
Spencer Orey
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel pretty conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I enjoyed reading it until the final 100 pages or so turned into a slog. On the other, it's repetitive and minimalistic in a way that felt generationally out of touch.

The unnamed main character is in one of these classic Murakami in-between periods in his life, where everything has fallen apart but he's somehow fairly financially comfortable and has time to re-evaluate things. He gets involved with a questionably shady guy, and they star
Shirley Revill
Thoughts while reading.

Your wife she left
I did too
I came back to finish you
Paintings on walls
Men two foot high
My brains been pulped
I give a cry
I've not been drinking
That wouldn't do
But I might before I finish you.
Review to follow when I finish the story.
If I never achieve anything else in my life I achieved finishing this book. In fact I got to the end of the audiobook some days ago and have since been wondering what to say. I have looked at many five star reviews regarding this s
Adam Dalva
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
More on this when it comes out! I found it to be a return to form, mingling the realism of Norwegian Wood with the surrealistic approach of Wind-Up Bird. Fast read for such a long book, and the writing about painting is fascinating. The biggest flaw is in the depiction of a 13-year-old girl, whose constant fixation on her chest is a distracting running joke that doesn't do anything for the plot. ...more
* 1.5 *

One couldn't escape death, but it should come later - she wanted to know what it felt like to have full breasts and a woman's nipples at least once before she died. It would really suck if hornets killed her before she had that chance.


It is probably worthwhile to say at the outset that I am not a Murakami superfan. I have read three of his books now and I nearly always leave with a vague sense of disappointment and unease. Killing Commendatore is not a good choice for a person w
If I close my eyes tight, what shall I see? If I shut out all the noises I can sense, what shall I hear? If I shun the world completely, what shall I feel? A dark nothingness? Or a blinding muddle of overlapping images? Heartbeats of silence, may be? Or forewarnings of myriad nature? Forgotten memories, perhaps? Or Unforeseen happenstances?

The options are many but the answers, scarce. And a protagonist embroiled in a similar dilemma propels this part real, part supernatural tale of phantasmagori
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, japan
In Germany, Murakami's latest tome was published in two parts, the first one entitled: "Killing Commendatore 1: An Idea Appears" - and you know why? Because one of the characters in this book is an idea. Yes. An idea. Welcome to the world of Murakami.

Our main protagonist is a 36-year-old painter. He (who remains unnamed) has just been left by his wife and retreats into a solitary house in the Japanese mountains to rethink his life. While trying to figure out what to do next, he is confronted wi
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing

*DISCLAIMER: I was sent a free finished copy of this book by the wonderful people at knopf publishing but they did not ask for a review in any format, I'm just obsessed with Murakami and this was my most anticipating book of the last like 3 years soooooo


- Probably one of Murakami's best CRAFTED books - the writing was absolutely wonderful and there were so many lines I want printed on a frame and hung in my home, a well
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: murakami, 日本の
“Everything has a bright side,” he said. “The top of even the blackest, thickest cloud shines like silver.”
Haruki Murakami ~~ Killing Commendatore


Those of you who know me, know that I love Haruki Murakami. I discovered his writings last year, and dove in at the urging of my friend, Srđan. Whether it was Murakami's novels, novellas, or short fiction, I was a true Murakami fan. I held, and still hold that Murakami is a literary genius.

With this being said, Murakami's Killing Commendatore left me
J.L.   Sutton
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finished Haruki Murakami's Killing Commendatore a few weeks ago and I'm still not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, I like the writing as well as the cultural references which Murakami weaves into the story (especially the complex set of meanings contained in the painting found by the novel's protagonist). One of the things I appreciate about Murakami's novels is how he creates a weird, nearly surreal alternate world which exists alongside our own. It took a lot of time to get to the ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
First Misapprehensions

My first impression of this novel turned out to be a misapprehension.

For the first ten pages, there were no references to characters' or place names. When the view of the Pacific Ocean was eventually mentioned, it could only be obtained by facing south-west. I had started to assume that the novel was set in northern or southern California, even though Murakami is obviously Japanese.

The nameless narrator had separated from his wife of six years, Yuzu, and gone on a road trip
Sam Quixote
As you might expect for a 700+ page novel, a fair amount of stuff happens in Killing Commendatore but the story is actually quite easy to summarise: there isn’t one! Which is a large part of what makes it such a frustrating read.

A portrait painter’s marriage dissolves leading to him wandering Japan aimlessly until he happens across the home of a famous artist who’s dying in hospital. The artist’s son invites him to stay and he discovers a painting hidden in the attic: a piece entitled Killing C
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hi Murakami

To be honest, my first running into with Murakami was after my army duty. He had magically inspired me through his masterpiece Kafka On The Shore. Even the finale quote of book is written on my cello case in order to remember the feeling of the book. After this book, I slowly started to collect his all books written in both English and Turkish. With Dance Dance Dance, I can really never describe my feelings how much i satisfied with about the plot and rhythm of it as well as the same
Paul Fulcher
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
“Cannot you just let the painting speak for itself?” the Commendatore said softly. “if the painting wants to say something, then best to let it speak. Let metaphors by metaphors, a code a code, a sieve a sieve.”

Killing Commendatore has beem translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen from perennial Nobel favourite (and self-withdrawn shortlistee from the Alternative Nobel) Murakami Haruki's Japanese original, and marks a return to the first person narrators that he moved away from during Kafka
Andrew Smith
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The unnamed narrator of this story is a portrait painter. He's good at what he does, always capable of capturing something of essence of the person he is painting and technically capable of producing near photographic results, should he so desire. He is reflecting back on a period in his life which followed the surprising news, to him, that his wife had taken a lover and that their marriage was now over. In typical Murakami style this news was received with stoicism and pragmatism – the painter ...more
Edward Lorn
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I hesitate to recommend this astounding novel because if a reader misses the hints early on they're going to have a bad time. The metaphor is thick with this one, and even mentioning what means what in this book would be the most heinous of grievances. Because that's what makes a Murakami novel such a wonderful experience. Puzzling out the meanings. Doing so, for me, is a refreshing change of pace. I don't like an author to hold my hand, which far too many do these days, and Murakami rarely even ...more
Faroukh Naseem
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably my 8th or 9th Murakami and I’ve finally come to realize Murakami doesn’t write to please anyone, sometimes it feels like he doesn’t even write to please himself. He writes because he needs to; he needs to free his mind of these thoughts that’ve made a home in his mind. And I have nothing to complain about that, we’re lucky he’s decided to!

This is the first time I took notes and wrote bullet points to refer to when writing the review of the book. This is also the first time I’m d
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the original 2 volume version in Japanese.

As a Murakami fan (and admittedly budding skeptic) I found much of the uninspiring same in this 1,050 page story of a frustrated painter who is (ironically) trying to get inspired. Our intrepid narrator (as always, unnamed) is a disillusioned portrait artist for-hire who finds himself living in the mountain home of his old art college friend's father, the famous painter Tomohiko Amada, who is now incapacitated with severe dementia in a care facilit
Daniel Simmons
If I were feeling charitable, which I'm not, I would say this is "vintage Murakami" or a "return to masterful form" or something like that after the under-edited "1Q84" and faintly ridiculous "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki...", since like many of his earlier (mostly better) novels, this one features creepy holes in the ground and WW2 atrocities and jazz references and ennui-laden pasta sauce-making. But it just feels like recycling the same stuff to no particularly new or wondrous effect. It's like h ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In one of my earliest memories I was standing in a tight pantry in my home. I might have been as young as three years-old but I suppose I could have been four or even five. I was reaching up to open a cabinet door, maybe for some cocoa, of that I’m not sure. I paused, maybe out of trepidation but not quite fear. I had this vivid feeling that if I opened that door, something like outer space would be inside. In any event, there wouldn’t be shelves of canned goods. But whatever was on the other si ...more
Killing Commendatore has an intriguing plot and after only three of his books I can quite confidently say that it’s typical Murakami. After a sudden split from his wife, the Narrator quits his job as a portrait artist, abandons built up civilisation and holes up in his friends isolated mountain home, which once housed Japans most famous artist. Whilst exploring the attic he uncovers a forgotten painting entitled Killing Commendatore. What follows is, obviously, a bizarre series of events that le ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 (picked up a bit after a 'Murakami-by-numbers' middle section) rounded down. I'll write a longer review at some point but, for now, two things feel worth mentioning. One: some of this is so Lynch-inspired that on one occasion he even lifts an actual line of dialogue from Lost Highway ("It is not my custom to go where I'm not invited."). Two: here's my favourite worst bit of Murakami ever:

“My breasts are really small, don’t you think?” Mariye asked, out of nowhere.

“I wonder,” I said.

Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
When it comes to Murakami, I am not an impartial rater. I treat him like a favorite and give him extra credit just because I want to (at least for his novels). There are plenty of flaws in his newest, fat novel. There is too much repetition of basic facts and the descriptions of sex, breasts and anatomical parts are off-key and cringe inducing.

Yet! There is plenty of Murakami magic here and I enjoyed the many, many hours I spent meandering through these pages. I am drawn to books about art and
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Generally I love Murakami - and I think I have read (and kept) every one of his novels published in English - but this one I think caught me at the wrong time after I had been reading and enjoying some challenging literature.

I felt like all the time I was reading, there was a young voice in my head pointing out the lack of literary clothing, that I normally choose to ignore when enjoying this Emperor of writing.

(Of course the irony of a little person speaking in my head when reading a Murakami
In all conscience I can't put this on my 'better written than Harry Potter' shelf because I just don't think a sex scene in HP could be this bad. Of course, people who have actually read HP may set me right on that.
My ejaculation was violent, and repeated. Again and again, semen poured from me, overflowing her vagina, turning the sheets sticky. There was nothing I could do to make it stop. If it continued, I worried, I would be completely emptied out. Yuzu slept deeply through it all without mak
Katia N
I have an unsteady relationship with Murakami. My enjoyment of his novels is inversely proportional to the amount of supernatural he incorporates in it. I like his writing style, pleasurable melancholy and solitude of his male protagonists. But when cats, tunnels and nymphets enter the page, I am getting bored very quickly. That is why my favourite by him is Norwegian Wood and I have not finished many of the others.

I have finished this one. It is interesting enough and a pleasurable read. Apart
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there was ever any doubt to the fact of Haruki Murakami's skill at nuanced storytelling, KILLING COMMENDATORE eliminates them all with its artistic telling.

*Publishing on 9th October 2018, Harvill Secker, Penguin UK*

The latest novel from the Japanese author is a gripping tale of art and obsession. With nearly 700 pages to its name, KILLING COMMENDATORE surprises with prose that flows nearly as smoothly as the many layers of interconnected meanings in the story. There are several familiar el
Was a bizarre and awesome read , though the ending left some unanswered questions ( to me, at least).
Unable to coherently review this for the time being .

How I came upon this book?

Noticed this one at a Flipkart sale with a lucrative 45% discount, and grabbed at the opportunity without even blinking an eye. (Though alas, if patience was a virtue with me, I would have gotten it for nearly 55% discount from Amazon, barely a week later.)

The hardback was perfect and beautiful, with an intriguing jack
2.5 (tentatively rounded up)

Phew. I feel like I deserve some kind of medal for finishing this bloated tome in just over a week... This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year - I'm a long time Murakami fan, but in recent years I've felt increasingly frustrated with aspects of his latest novels. While I loved 1Q84, I found Men Without Women just boring, and Colourless Tsukuru... almost instantly forgettable. Unfortunately I think Killing Commendatore is destined to join the ranks of the
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Around the Year i...: Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami 3 66 Feb 01, 2019 10:17AM  
MVABC: Feb 2019 Book Selection 1 9 Jan 12, 2019 11:09AM  
Indian Readers: Murakami Buddies ~ Kushal and Damini 32 75 Jan 02, 2019 06:23AM  

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Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am

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