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.

More Murakaminess

12 05 2012

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

This hypnotically addictive novel is a work of startling originality and, as the title suggests, a mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. (The number 9 in Japanese is pronounced like the letter ‘Q’).The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

I do like Murakami. Well, most of the time. These 1Q84 books are typical of him and combine customary strangeness of plot and intriguing characters. It’s all quite compelling and not a little odd. Looking forward to reading Book 3.

You’re winding me up

5 06 2010

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

From the Amazon review:

Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician.

Haruki Murakami is a master of subtly disturbing prose. Mundane events throb with menace, while the bizarre is accepted without comment. Meaning always seems to be just out of reach, for the reader as well as for the characters, yet one is drawn inexorably into a mystery that may have no solution. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an extended meditation on themes that appear throughout Murakami’s earlier work. The tropes of popular culture, movies, music, detective stories, combine to create a work that explores both the surface and the hidden depths of Japanese society at the end of the 20th century.

It is an extremely odd but compelling tale with many strange and bizarre characters and happenings. The recollections of some of the Japanese army’s activities in China are particularly striking. Hard to describe and pin down but definitely in keeping with his better work such as Kafka on the Shore.

Lost in space

13 07 2008

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

So, narrator loves the quite odd Sumire but she loves equally odd older woman, Miu, and goes off to work for her on a trip to Greek island. Something happens and he goes to Greece to investigate. All turns out a bit odd in the end

Whilst I have really enjoyed other Murakami novels, I have to say that this really felt pretty second rate. Customary meditations on love and loss and bags of existential meanderings just seem a bit lightweight and lazy here. It feels like a nice short story dragged out unnecessarily into a novel.

A bit tired

20 01 2008

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

After dark

Really not that interesting, unfortunately. Coiuple of people stay up late. Someone else is asleep. Elements of interconnectedness. All is dark. Nighty night.

Unfortunately, this lacks the bite, vigour and sheer spookiness of other Murakami outings so really rather disappointing.

2 star

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