Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki Group Read

Keskustelu75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki Group Read

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

1msf59
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 10, 2014, 8:17 pm

2msf59
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 10, 2014, 7:47 pm

Sorry, for the long delay on setting this up. I was planning on kicking it off on the 15th, so I am not to far behind. I know a couple people have started it already, but I do not think I will get to it, before that date.

I think this is my 4th Murakami Group Read (as host) and let's just plan on me doing one on every new book he churns out. Deal??

I run an easy going G.R., so read at your own pace but be careful of spoilers, at least in the early going.

FYI- This is my 10th Murakami. Hard to believe, but I read my first one, in the summer of '08 and that was Kafka on the Shore and it remains my favorite. I juggle so many different authors, that reading this many of the same author, in that time span, is a BIG DEAL to me. The only one that comes close is Ms. Atwood.

What is your Murakami history?

3Berly
lokakuu 10, 2014, 8:02 pm

I have only read 1Q84 so I am a relative newbie. I read it in a once-a-week class put on by Literary Arts in Portland. There were about 16 of us and I knew no one so it was really fun to hear their perspectives. The guy who lead the class is an authority on Japanese culture so he had all sorts of cool things to add to the discussion. I loved the book and cannot wait to start this one!

4LovingLit
lokakuu 10, 2014, 9:47 pm

I'm here! (does that mean I am in? Maybe)
My Murakami history consists of What I talk about when I Talk about Running. So not the literary prose he is known for. Looking forward to 'having read' my first proper Murakami ;) (That is my disclaimer so that I can bow out if I so chose)

5mahsdad
lokakuu 10, 2014, 10:06 pm

I don't have Colorless, but I do have A Wild Sheep Chase. Perhaps I'll read that and join you all in spirit.

6drneutron
lokakuu 11, 2014, 11:18 am

Added this thread to the group wiki Group Read section!

7msf59
lokakuu 11, 2014, 11:40 am

>3 Berly: you started on the deep end with Murakami, so this should be a breeze, Kimmers.

>4 LovingLit: I would love to hear your thoughts on Murakami's fiction, Megan. Hope you can join us.

>5 mahsdad: I have not read A Wild Sheep Chase, although it is on my list. Go for it, Jeff!

>6 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. Are you a Murakami fan?

8drneutron
lokakuu 11, 2014, 12:06 pm

A bit. I'm considering joining in.

9mhmr
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2014, 3:36 am

I meant to wait for this group read but picked up the book about a week ago at 2 pm and didn't put the thing down for about a dozen hours.

It was my first Murakami experience. I passed it on to my DH who read it in pretty short order too and was impressed. I may not have much to say but would like to hover for the group read.

Oh, one thing. I even enjoyed holding the small squat book. Took me back to some long ago reading about a dragon.

10msf59
lokakuu 11, 2014, 3:31 pm

>8 drneutron: Go Jim! Go Jim!

>9 mhmr: Glad you enjoyed it and I hope this is the beginning of a long torrid affair with Murakami. Try to find a copy of Kafka on the Shore.

11roundballnz
lokakuu 11, 2014, 4:41 pm

I will lurk in the background .... having already dived in the pool

12catarina1
lokakuu 12, 2014, 11:32 am

I read this, also, last month but I'm interested in what others think of the book.

13jnwelch
lokakuu 12, 2014, 1:19 pm

As Mark knows, I'm a Murakami fan and I've read them all, except for his first two ones that are coming out in the U.S. soon, Pinball and Hear the Wind Sing. My favorite, like Mark, is Kafka on the Shore. I'll give a special plug to Murakami's sometimes overlooked nonfiction book, Underground, about a religious cult's 1995 poison gas attack on Tokyo's subway system.

I liked Colorless Tsukuru very much, and my review is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/179106#4816129

14msf59
lokakuu 15, 2014, 6:58 pm

"But even if he had dreamed, even if dreamlike images arose from the edges of his mind, they would have nowhere to perch on the slippery slopes of his consciousness, instead quickly sliding off, down into the void."

"Sometimes, when he looked at his face in the mirror, he detected an incurable boredom."

^Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. Yes, I am 80 pages in and like usual, Murakami has pulled me in, in his peculiarly hypnotic way.

15benitastrnad
lokakuu 15, 2014, 7:01 pm

I liked the format of this book. The thing felt good in my hands. And what can you say about that dust jacket? It is intriguing, colorful, and related to the story inside the book. It shows insight and imagination. All the things a good book dust jacket should be.

Is it the same caliber as the cover for paperback editions of Wind-up Bird Chronicle? Kafka on the Shore? Norwegian Wood? No. Those covers were simply over the moon.

16lindapanzo
lokakuu 16, 2014, 1:11 pm

I'm considering joining in as well. The only writing of his I've read was his Kindle single about running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

So many people think so highly of his books, I feel like I ought to give him a try. Wasn't an earlier one something like 800 or 900 pages? That's more than I'd want to commit to for a "give it a try" author. I think this one is a lot less.

17Smiler69
lokakuu 16, 2014, 5:59 pm

Mark, may I make a suggestion? I usually stay away from these GR threads to avoid spoilers, but there might be an easy way around those, which we could borrow from the way the tutored read threads with Liz/lyzard are run, which would be to indicate the chapter and/or page number clearly in bold at the top of each post. Don't know what you think of that suggestion, and of course, in order to work, everyone would have to agree to using that format. I know things are run really casually here, so not sure it would work. If not, no biggie, I'll just keep reading in my quiet little corner as I've done up till now.

That being said, I'll probably be starting tonight as am just about to finish a NetGalley book I wanted to get to first.

18benitastrnad
lokakuu 16, 2014, 6:48 pm

#16
1Q84 was over 1000 pages. Windup Bird Chronicle was close to 700 pages. Murakami usually writes long novels, so the length of this one was a surprise to me. The size of the book was also interesting. Why so small? But for me that only added to the allure.

19lindapanzo
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 16, 2014, 9:48 pm

>18 benitastrnad: Thanks. That's good to know.

I picked up a Kindle copy from the library.

20Berly
lokakuu 16, 2014, 9:36 pm

Halfway through and loving it....

21msf59
lokakuu 17, 2014, 7:20 am

>17 Smiler69: I think that is a fine idea, Ilana and I will keep that in mind for further G.R.s. This one, does not really warrant much book discussion, compared to his other more sprawling and serpentine works, although I am really enjoying it.

>19 lindapanzo: Go Linda! Go Linda!

>20 Berly: Big Ass Grin!!

22msf59
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 17, 2014, 7:26 am

If anyone wants to add something "spoilery", could you add a chapter or page count, to the front of your post, preferably in BOLD letters? We definitely frown on spoilers.

23jnwelch
lokakuu 17, 2014, 10:24 am

>23 jnwelch: Ha! Will do. Can't risk the wrath of that tyke!

24Smiler69
lokakuu 17, 2014, 10:33 am

I really love the format of the book. As well as being a beauty once you take off the slipcover, it's such a perfect size to hold. I'm 80 pages in and really enjoying it.

Thanks Mark for considering my suggestion.

25msf59
lokakuu 17, 2014, 12:03 pm

>23 jnwelch: >24 Smiler69: Murakami has such a unique style. Such an interesting blend of the simple & straightforward and the creepy and slightly sinister. Not many authors work like this.

Thoughts?

He also seems to get a bit graphic in his sex scenes. Does anyone see an increase in this content or has he always dabbled in the sexy-sexy?

I recall Norwegian Wood having a fair amount.

26jnwelch
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 17, 2014, 1:13 pm

>25 msf59: I feel like he's gotten more graphic in the sexy-sexy, but I'm not sure I'm right. He just had an unusual (well, duh!) short story in the New Yorker called "Scheherazade" that begins, "Each time they had sex, she told Habara a strange and gripping story afterward": http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/13/scheherazade-3. It gets pretty matter-of-factly graphic about the sex. If Norwegian Wood, an early novel, had a fair amount, then maybe he's been doing it all along, but I've sure been noticing it more lately.

27Smiler69
lokakuu 17, 2014, 8:25 pm

I never notice the sex. I just find it icky and want it to be over as soon as possible and put it out of my mind when it's done. I don't get excited or derive any enjoyment at all from other people's intimate moments, even when they're fictionalized. I've always hated kissing scenes at the movies. I guess I'm not even a tiny bit voyeuristic. Maybe that makes me a prude, maybe not. Heh.

28benitastrnad
lokakuu 17, 2014, 10:55 pm

I have also noticed the sex in Murakami's work. I find it heavy handed and not at all romantic so therefore find it more graphic than I would like. I think that this is a cultural thing. In Great Railway Bazaar Theroux has a story about a play he saw in Japan that featured live sex. His comments about the Japanese and sex were very interesting. He seemed to think that they way they viewed sex was much different and was all about power and not about romance or love. I have never visited Japan and know little of the culture so can't say if I agree with Theroux or not. I can say that I often find the sex in Murakami disturbing - cold and clinical are words that come to mind and almost totally devoid of feeling and emotional involvement. I have found this to be true in every book of his that I have read. I think that this detracts from the novels or stories and I wish that they weren't there. The fact that they are included makes me think that perhaps it is a cultural thing that simply doesn't translate well, so I simply ignore them and concentrate on the other parts of the books.

29msf59
lokakuu 18, 2014, 7:23 am

>28 benitastrnad: Thanks, Benita! I do not mind the sex as much as you but I agree about the "cold and clinical", although much of his writing style, could fall loosely into this category.

30Smiler69
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 18, 2014, 1:09 pm

>29 msf59: I remember when I originally got the audiobook for 1Q84 and started listening to it, I didn't like one of the narrators at all, and I don't know if it was a coincidence, but decided to quit shortly after a sex scene which I found revolting. Nothing sensual in the least about it, even if I were in the least bit inclined to appreciate that sort of thing. Maybe Benita is right about it being a cultural thing about the clinical sex. That being said, I definitely intend to go back to 1Q84 and have gotten it as a ppbk and on French audio as well... I'll just skip over those scenes next time, I'm sure they don't add anything to the story.

31roundballnz
lokakuu 18, 2014, 4:39 pm

IMO the sex scenes are deliberately not romantic/sensual, someone else put it better than me elsewhere:

"....The sex scenes, to me, we're not about sex, so I didn't really think of them as being good or bad as sex scenes. I don't think he wrote them with pornography in mind. I think he wrote them to advance certain aspects of the plot and to make us uncomfortable and then to question why we're uncomfortable......."

32benitastrnad
lokakuu 18, 2014, 10:32 pm

Most of Murakami's writing seems to be about emotionally detached people - in one form or another, so I have begun to think that he uses sex to further illustrate this detachment. I thought that was what was going on in Norwegian Wood because there was so much of it in that book. I couldn't seem to connect to that part of the book, and thought afterwards that was why it was in there. Sex was totally meaningless, and described in the same way in which people in Murakami's books prepare their food.

Have you noticed that he spends a great deal of time and energy telling his readers that his characters eat healthy light meals? How much time the spend preparing these meals and what they eat in resturants. Down to how much time it takes to order desert or coffee? I wonder if he isn't trying to send a message there as well.

33msf59
lokakuu 19, 2014, 5:33 pm

"...searching for words that don't make a sound."

"'Yuzu wasn't Snow White anymore. Or maybe she was too worn out to be Snow White. And I was a bit tired myself of being the Seven Dwarfs."

^ I finished the book today and I was quite pleased with the outcome. Murakami rarely ventures outside Japan, in his novels, so it was refreshing to see the detour. Anyone have thoughts about this?

And did anyone else catch the reference to his NF book, Underground? This happens later in the book.

34benitastrnad
lokakuu 19, 2014, 8:04 pm

I did catch that reference. I suspect that it might be Murakami who loves train stations.

35jnwelch
lokakuu 20, 2014, 10:02 am

>33 msf59: and >34 benitastrnad: Yes, and yes. The same thought crossed my mind, Benita.

36lindapanzo
lokakuu 20, 2014, 4:41 pm

I started this yesterday on my Kindle. While I like his writing, the plot is only so-so for me. (I'm about 20 percent into it)

How does this one compare to his other books?

37LovingLit
lokakuu 20, 2014, 7:41 pm

Hehe, I am only up to Page 25 (there arent even any spoilers, but I dont want to attract the wrath of Mark) and I see I have sex scenes to look forward to!
I am loving it so far, the casual prose is deceptively simple. I like it a lot.

38Smiler69
lokakuu 20, 2014, 8:21 pm

Gosh, I've reached Chapter 12 and I see the sex is really a part of the story, so it's not at all like I can ignore it. But as others have said, it's so clinical that there's nothing intimate about it, hence no 'ick' factor about it really in this case.

39LovingLit
lokakuu 21, 2014, 12:06 am

*trying hard to catch up*

Squeezed in another 40 pages this afternoon....up to 65 now.

Japanese culture is so interesting, or is it just the personality of Tsukuru....I would have hounded the 4 friends to find out why they were cold-shouldering me!. I can't believe he just let it be.

40kidzdoc
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 21, 2014, 6:56 am

I started this yesterday afternoon, and I was hooked by page 2. I'm at the beginning of chapter 13 (page 242), and with less than 150 pages to go I'll definitely finish it today.

ETA: I also found Franz Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage suite played by Lazar Berman on Spotify, and listened to it as I was reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki last night.

41kidzdoc
lokakuu 21, 2014, 9:33 am

If anyone wants to listen to Le mal du pays (Homesickness) as performed by Lazar Berman, there is a YouTube video of it created by a fan of Murakami:

http://youtu.be/FDWUvc5wv7U

42msf59
lokakuu 21, 2014, 10:21 am

I am so glad everyone is enjoying this one. I am very pleased that a few more people have leaped a board. Big Ass Smile.

>41 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl! That is a great idea. I am only mad, that I didn't think of that myself. Pouts...but just a little.

43kidzdoc
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 21, 2014, 11:14 am

Done! I loved this, and I'll give it 4-1/2 stars. Even though it was nearly 400 pages I finished it in less than 24 hours.

44lindapanzo
lokakuu 21, 2014, 11:40 am

I'm now about 60 percent of the way through it and starting to like it more than I did early on. It has started to pick up for me.

45Smiler69
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 21, 2014, 12:14 pm

Lingered in bed this morning to finish it. I really liked it, but then the ending disappointed; why all the unanswered phone calls? Really annoyed me. Ah well.

>41 kidzdoc: I found that Franz Liszt piece by Berman earlier this week and been listening to it often as I read the book, so beautiful, isn't it?

46kidzdoc
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 21, 2014, 12:38 pm

I liked the way it ended, although I was freaked out for a minute when it seemed as though he might hop on the train at Shinjuku Station and miss his dinner date with Sara. The missed phone calls didn't bother me, nor did the uncertain ending, as I thought both were fitting.

The Liszt piece is beautiful, and it serves as a perfect accompaniment to the book, IMO.

Mark, will there be a thread for those of us who have finished the book to discuss it further?

47msf59
lokakuu 21, 2014, 1:22 pm

>46 kidzdoc: I wasn't planning on it. Just put a spoiler tag in front of the post, preferably in bold type, so people can avoid it. Most of us should be close to finishing. I think Linda and Megan are still working on it.

>45 Smiler69: Glad you liked it, Ilana! I liked the ending. It worked for me.

>44 lindapanzo: Go Linda! Go Linda!

48lindapanzo
lokakuu 21, 2014, 1:34 pm

>47 msf59: I should be finished today.

49msf59
lokakuu 21, 2014, 1:46 pm

>48 lindapanzo: Go, Linda! Go, Linda! It is a quick read.

50lindapanzo
lokakuu 21, 2014, 1:55 pm

>49 msf59: Surprisingly so, I'd say.

51jnwelch
lokakuu 21, 2014, 2:01 pm

>41 kidzdoc: Great, Darryl, thanks for the link to the music. It sure brings back memories of the book.

Spoiler I liked the uncertain ending with Sara, too.

52Smiler69
lokakuu 21, 2014, 2:38 pm

I think I'm going to have to let the book sit for a while and re-evaluate how I feel about the ending in a few days. I'm in a lot of pain and discomfort since the weekend, which makes me short and excessively grumpy, so that I can't really gauge my appreciation of things, which is really off-kilter. For all I know I'll come to the same conclusion as you guys, Joe, Mark, Darryl... maybe I'm needing resolution in my personal life, but it's not at all necessary in the book probably.

53benitastrnad
lokakuu 21, 2014, 3:47 pm

There are often unanswered phone calls in Murakami books. I found them in Windup Bird Chronicle as well. This may be part of this thing with "alienation." I understand eccentricity in an author but found them annoying in Windup. However, in this book I took it that these calls were symbolic of the uncertainty to be found in any relationship.

Music is always at the heart of a Murakami book. Take a look at his official website.

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/murakami/site.php

There is a music tab in there that lists all of the music mentioned in his books. Even gives the page numbers. However, Colorless Tsukuru isn't in the mix - yet. Even so it is a great web site.

54LovingLit
lokakuu 22, 2014, 7:08 pm

I have been powering through this book. (for me). I was lucky enough to have Lenny fall asleep in the car for me, and have the book on me (that obsession with carrying a book at all times pays off sometimes!), and I read for 30 minutes in the sun. Nearly done and although there are some rather obvsious descriptions at times (like sleep warmly embracing him), I am still very keen and call it a cant-put-downer :)

55msf59
lokakuu 22, 2014, 9:03 pm

Go Megan! Go Megan!

56LovingLit
lokakuu 23, 2014, 8:11 pm

^ I went! It's done.
Now I feel that feeling that you feel when you have finished a good book and there is that empty space where it used to be. Thanks for the nudge on this one, Mark (and to my sister for giving the book to me for my b'day)

57michigantrumpet
lokakuu 23, 2014, 8:16 pm

Made it to Chapter 11 out of 19. Listening on Audio book in the car. HUGELY disappointed my work obligation on the other side of the state got cancelled for tomorrow. I could finished by tomorrow, for sure.

He's just met with one of his friends. Liking it so far. Hoping to finish by the weekend!!

58Donna828
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 26, 2014, 3:53 pm

I finally got my copy from the library and was happy to find Colorless Tsukuru such a quick and easy read compared to some of his other books. I didn't like this one as much as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle because of its simplicity. Or perhaps I am just getting tired of the emotionless writing style and characters. Yes, even those sex scenes are written so clinically with formal dialogue during and after that even I can't be offended! Haha, that's a joke! When I read this passage, I thought…here we go again…dreams and blips in reality. Murakami is getting too predictable:

"Tsukura must have fallen asleep again, but he woke up once more in a dream. Strictly speaking, it might not be a dream. It was reality, but a reality imbued with all the qualities of a dream. A different sphere of reality, where--at a special time and place--imagination had been set free." (124)


I thought the book was okay, but it paled in comparison to the books I've been reading recently: The Raj Quartet and All the Light We Cannot See. I guess I should have read my Robert B. Parker book first to cleanse my palate. My humdrum review is on the book's page. Sorry I'm so grumpy about this one. ;-(

59catarina1
lokakuu 26, 2014, 3:58 pm

>58 Donna828: Donna, I agreed with you about this book. I felt it was a little "meh". I know I'm in the minority on this one.

60benitastrnad
lokakuu 26, 2014, 4:21 pm

#58
I agree with you to some degree. This book is very different than what I have come to expect from Murakami. This is more like a novella and resembles Norwegian Wood in style and content. I don't think this is Murakami's best work, but I do think that it is part of a continuum in his work. I also think that the theme of alienation and emotional detachment is very much a concern of Murakami's and that his writes about it in order to highlight its part in the Japanese culture and psyche.

I am not sorry to have read it but it doesn't rank as high in my personal list of his best work as some of the other titles.

61jnwelch
lokakuu 27, 2014, 12:01 pm

Well put, Benita. I actually liked it a lot, but it won't dislodge his ones at the top of my personal list of his best work.

62benitastrnad
lokakuu 27, 2014, 12:22 pm

#61
I do see this as a part of a continuum. There were parts of it that reminded me of 1Q84 and of portions of Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Wind-up Bird is such a complex book with its themes of individual responsibility and erasure of historical records and how that leads to an emotional detachment but because of all the magical realism in it those other themes often get lost. Colorless Tsukuru seems like Murakami is using the book to pick apart and peel layers from one person so that we see how emotionless he is and how deeply he has locked those emotions inside of himself. I think this is a deeply psychological and specific novella and perhaps to fully understand all of it one might have to be Japanese. That does not mean that I think it is a poor work. I just think that perhaps I am not going to understand it in the same way somebody inside of that culture would.

I think Murakami's body of work is brilliant as a whole, but it is also culturally specific in many ways.

63jnwelch
lokakuu 27, 2014, 12:30 pm

>62 benitastrnad: That's a good point about the Japanese culture aspect. Someone else commented on, how could he not push the others to find out the reason for the shunning when it happened. I suspect that is cultural. I work sometimes with Japanese folks, and with them confrontation is not the way things are handled.

64Berly
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 1, 2014, 2:30 am

I wanted to hear more about the college roommate and did not find the reason for the split plausible. Nor Tsukura's lack of inquiry. And the ending was not perfect for me. Hope that is vague enough! Still, given all that, this was a quick read and I actually really enjoyed the book -- I want to read more of Murakami! 1Q84 is still my favorite.

65benitastrnad
lokakuu 30, 2014, 4:31 pm

#64
I agree with you. There are many things that don't add up to me. I wondered about the roommate that just disappeared as well. I kept thinking that he would turn out to be somebody important towards the end of the book, and he didn't. He not only disappeared from the life of the protagonist he also disappeared from the book. If he wasn't important why his he in the story to start with?

66Berly
marraskuu 1, 2014, 2:29 am

>65 benitastrnad: I know! And since I just read 1Q84, I kept waiting for something unexpected and for the roommate to reappear. Ah well....

67LovingLit
marraskuu 2, 2014, 11:33 pm

***spoilers*** ( I suppose, there may be some who have not read it here )

^ oh yea, the roommate, what DID happen to him. Was he there just to prove that people are fickle in their relationships?

68jnwelch
marraskuu 3, 2014, 1:00 pm

***spoilers*** I thought the roommate was mainly there for Tsukuru to have a "relationship" when he had otherwise lost all human contact, and that when Sara comes into his life and gets him revisiting what happened in the past, the roommate was no longer "necessary" in Tsukuru's life. I had people like that in my own life who were friends for a while, but then moved away or changed their lives, and the friendship just went pffft.

69LovingLit
marraskuu 3, 2014, 1:17 pm

^ People do come and go, I suppose. And the less of them there are to start with, the more intense the relationship might be?
I would have been hurt by the way he cut him off though, it wasn't like Tsukuru did anything to annoy him.

70benitastrnad
marraskuu 3, 2014, 5:22 pm

So, do you have to have somebody to need you in order to be friends with them?

71jnwelch
marraskuu 4, 2014, 12:32 pm

Sometimes, don't you think? The long-lasting ones, no.

72LovingLit
marraskuu 4, 2014, 4:45 pm

>70 benitastrnad: It is nice to be able to provide something that is needed in a friendship. Like companionship, a listening ear, empathy, a barrel of laughs maybe?? I hope I do in my friendships.

Tsukuru seemed resigned to his fate of being friendless, I thought. Maybe it is a Japanese reservedness coming through. An acceptance that I could not have handled it with.

73benitastrnad
marraskuu 4, 2014, 5:50 pm

Do you have to need somebody to be friends with them? Does somebody have to need you to be friends with you?

74RBeffa
marraskuu 14, 2014, 11:38 am

I'm sorry I missed the group read. my hold at the library had to work it's way thru the queue of many and finally came in. I started this and was underwhelmed at first but then slowly I'm appreciating it more. About a third done. Not rushing it. Vaguely disturbing and unsettling book. Disliked Sara the inquisitor from the start. I only lightly skimmed a few comments here as I don't want to be even slightly spoiled. This is a curiously sad book, as much of Murakami's work is I suppose. I'll check back in when I finish.

75RBeffa
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 18, 2014, 12:33 pm

I read very little literature outside of US/UK but I do enjoy Japanese literature. It exposes me to a different world view and way of seeing things and thinking about things. Haruki Murakami isn't quite a "favorite" author of mine but he is perilously close to it.

To me there were numerous things just plain wrong with his latest work. I didn't try to keep notes, but from out of the gate I didn't care for the story. There is or used to be those contests where you were supposed to write bad Hemingway. This felt like someone had won the contest to write bad Murakami. I have a slight thought that it is perhaps due to the translation. But I have no way of knowing that. There was much repetition in the novel. I kept thinking "you already told me this" repeatedly. There are strange viewpoint shifts some of which were clearly intentional and some of which just felt like sloppy writing. Parts of the novel do not suffer from these afflictions and are what I wish the whole book had been. For example the entire Finland sequence was wonderful. Reading some of the reviews and comments on LT I note that I am not alone in being bothered by disappearing characters and wondering why certain things were even in the story at all. Some people complain about "bad sex" in the novel. That may be a cultural difference - I don't know. I found it odd but it didn't really bother me as much as other people seem to be bothered. It did detract from the story I think. I also couldn't say that this was great or lovely writing because as often as not it wasn't. So mark this off as my least favorite Murakami.