Even More Murakaminess

20 10 2012

1Q84 Book 3 by Haruki Murakami

Book Two of 1Q84 ended with Aomame standing on the Metropolitan Expressway with a gun between her lips.

 She knows she is being hunted, and that she has put herself in terrible danger in order to save the man she loves.

But things are moving forward, and Aomame does not yet know that she and Tengo are more closely bound than ever.

Tengo is searching for Aomame, and he must find her before this world’s rules loosen up too much.

He must find her before someone else does.

After really enjoying Books 1 and 2 I was very much looking forward to reading Book 3 but unfortunately found it rather disappointing. All the ingredients are there with the languid plot and general weirdness in the strange parallel world of 1Q84 but the pace is just too slow to retain interest.

Quite a wait

13 10 2012

Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with eminent psychiatrist, Dr Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis when a young woman enters. Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual, intense beauty. Her name is Hettie Bull. Their subsequent affair is both passionate and particularly destructive. Moving from Vienna to London’s West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller and a literary tour de force.

Plenty of twists and turns and interesting wartime settings. Rief, the lead character, is not terribly engaging though and I did really find it difficult to feel a huge amount of sympathy for him. I reckon about half of the books I read are described by someone somewhere as a “literary tour de force” but few genuinely deserve the accolade. This one, well-written as it is, unfortunately doesn’t quite scale those heights either.


6 10 2012

Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason

Reykjavik, Saturday night

He offered her another margarita, and, as he returned from the bar, he carefully slid the pill into her glass. They were getting along fine, and he was sure she would give him no trouble…

48 hours later

A young man is found dead in a pool of blood. The victim is found wearing a woman’s t-shirt, while a bottle of Rohypnol lies on the table nearby. There is no sign of a break-in.

Detective Elinborg, already struggling to juggle family life and the relentless demands of her job, is assigned the case. But with no immediate leads to the killer, can she piece together details of the victim’s secret life and solve the brutal murder?

It’s another grimly entertaining Icelandic crime novel from Indridason. Not much of Erlendur, the usual protagonist, in here but still does the business.

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