Lamski Kikita's Reviews > Almost Transparent Blue

Almost Transparent Blue by Ryū Murakami
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

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This is not a book for those who can't handle a little sex and violence. I believe many people would not be able to face those, drop the book, and therefore miss the beautiful parts of it.

There's no denying that people have stereotypical images of Japan; cherry blossoms and samurai warriors, or super smart men in suites and girls in Hello Kitty goth clothes. This book reflects a reality that maybe no one wants to know; that of the youth on the margin of Japanese society.

There are many characters, but I didn't feel like I had to strain to remember who's who. Many readers complain about the lack of plot or coherent sequence of events, but I cannot agree with that at all. The events seem random and glitchy, but they do follow an order, and their relative randomness does represent what the story is meant to tell us about: the life of a young Japanese junkie.

I've never tried any drugs; hell I don't even drink. So to me, to read the stories that Ryu imagines when he was stoned was simply fascinating. The little things he noticed, and the dreams he had and cities he created. Murakami does an amazing job of beautifully describing these scenes and completely capturing the reader. There is really no lack of beautiful expression in this book:

"thick clouds swollen with fever"
"even with a little steak, you've eaten the whole cow"
"trucks that passed with a sound just like the cries of enormous waterfowl, big trees that suddenly stood in our way and abandoned ruined houses beside the road"
"the winding road like molten steel flowing from a blast furnace"
"it wasn't the light that was weaker... I seemed to have moved far away from the source of light"

All in all this is a good book, but it is completely politically incorrect; so if you can't handle it then don't read it, because missing the good parts will only have you bashing the book in a bad review.
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