"Cool classic fiction"
Murakami endows seemingly mundane events with a suble surreal edge and undermines the narrator's (and the reader's) complacency to lure him into a labyrinthine phantasmagoric nightmare. Rupert Degas' reading really brings the characters alive. This is the first Murakami I have read and now I have a new favourite author.
Brilliant characterisations by an excellent reader, who never loses the thread of this complex and rivetting tale. Having read this unusual and mesmerising book by a favourite author some years ago, I was interested to hear how on earth it could be expressed by one person. Rupert Degas surpasses my expectations with great pacing and balance of all the rich elements, twists and turns of a story which can be a mystery, thriller, action story, philosophical tale of change and self awareness, fantasy and - whatever you make of it! I liked this version very much, and will certainly listen to it again. I found it by turns very funny, puzzling, occasionally violent and shocking, intriguing, mysterious and always fascinating. Recommended if you are looking for something different, by a great writer and superb reader.
This was recommended to me . After reading positive reviews I settled in for some long sessions.
The male reader has many voices and uses American stereotypes to portray Japanese characters plus a heavy Russian accent for Boris. He has great vocal versatility but many of the characters have cartoonish voices that tried my patience. May Kasahara sounded like Daffy Duck!
I don't think this is a very good book. Murakami lacks a grip on character and form. He uses implausible metaphysical and magical devices to cheat instead of devising a coherent and satisfying tale. He employs a kind of magical realism which lacks the power and subtlety of Marquez.
I dislike fiction that relies too heavily on cheap tricks like parallel realities and extended dream sequences because they allow the author to escape the discipline of plausible motivation and good narrative structure. Murakami's characters are unconvincing cyphers deployed in an exercise in mystification.
Muddle and complexity do not make a book profound. I thought that my endurance would be rewarded in the end so I paid attention and suppressed my irritation at the disjointed structure and unrealistic situations. The language is sometimes ponderous and cliched but that may be the translation. Murakami clearly lacks a good editor as his tale digresses into endless details that go beyond the necessary evocation of place and character. The historical background to the Manchurian campaign was an interesting exception. He describes sadistic and gratuitous violence in loving detail which I endured hoping there was a purpose to my discomfort. Finally I began to think my trust in this author was misplaced but I was nearing the end and didn't wish to prejudge it before all the strands came together. I think this book may appeal to young adult readers who enjoy Twin Peaks and that sort of metaphysical crap. I found it a waste of many hours of listening and I will not be reading Murakami again
"Brilliant piece of art."
I was enthralled by this story as others of this author. From the beginning I never really expected to take to it but I am so pleased I took the chance. It was like the dinner your mom made and you're not sure if you want it; it might taste awful simply by the look of it, but, ah yes, you will have it again. Very entertaining and memorable.
I found this a challenging listen. The book is excellently narrated, with convincing voices and a very dramatic quality - but it is long - and though some parts are beautiful, or intriguing, or exciting, or just plain baffling, there are also sections which are rather tedious and don't seem to take the plot anywhere. There are lots of threads which I hoped would somehow be tied together or explained - but in the end, they aren't - so it really is up to the listener to make sense of what is, at times, nonsensical. I must admit by part 3 I decided to play it at a faster speed - which actually worked well as the narration is often very slow - just to get to the end and find out what happened. I can't say that I really did find anything out - and perhaps it is more of a reflection on the reader's own interpretation that is important. Certainly not a book for the faint hearted - and perhaps starting with a shorter novel by the same author would be helpful
"Brilliant narration by Rupert Degas"
This is one of my favourite books: I've read it four times. My first reading made a dreadful holiday in Florida tolerable. Listening to it, however, brings the novel to life in a totally different way. As any audio book listener knows, though, the choice of reader is key. It can make or break the listening experience. Rupert Degas understands Murakami's bizarre world perfectly and voices the diverse array of characters superbly, voicing some of them in ways I had not imagined them whilst reading, especially his California Valley Girl take on the main character's neighbour, May. This is a compliment: his take on them was better than mine and he made me want to listen to the novel again straight away! His interpretation has made me want to listen to everything he has read for audio, even novels I usually would not be interested in. Wonderful.
"The nature of (un)reality"
Hmm, didn't quite work for me. Lots of good stuff here; beautiful descriptive narrative, compelling historical war scenes (the best of the book I think), sympathetic and whacky characters, humour, and not least a virtuoso reading performance. But: an utterly unreal/unbelievable plot, dozens of tedious dream sequences (I rarely trust an author who relates lots of dreams), loose ends like I've never met before in a book, and a reliance on magic to drive the plot in what is ostensibly modern day Tokyo made this a tough one for me to finish. If you like Kafka you'll probably enjoy this, it creates similar mental disturbances! For something just as fantasical/magical but utterly convincing try Salman Rushdies's Midnight's Children also available on audible and also with an incredible reader.
"Is this his Masterpiece?"
I?ve been so hooked on Murakami that this is the third book in a row I?ve downloaded. It?s full of classic Murakami ingredients and is an enchanting and surreal labyrinth of a tale. On a very broad basic level it?s about a search for a lost cat whilst in reality it?s about so much more. It?s Toro Okada?s search for answers, for people, for his true self and he encounters so many intriguing characters along the way largely made up of defilers and the defiled. I particularly loved May Kasahara a young girl living a few doors down, mainly because of her youthful honesty and humour. We encounter such a diverse selection of characters and situations that you couldn?t possibly believe they could all fit into one tale, from Japanese wartime espionage, days and nights spent at the bottom of a well, conducting surveys for the local Wig making firm and even Psychic sex... and yet it still works. Some say this is his masterpiece however by the time I got to this one I was slightly Murakami?d out! I still prefer his Kafka on the Shore by a long shot however I?ve come to realise that perhaps the first Murakami book you read or listen to whether it be Kafka or Wind-up you will consider not only to be his masterpiece but ?a? masterpiece.
"Fantastic reader and great book"
If I checked that this book was only read by one reader once I did it a hundred times. The variety of voices is unbelievable and I can't recommend Rupert Degas enough as a narrator.
The story is certainly odd at times so be warned! Saying that it is so well written and you get so drawn in that I am straight off to see what else is available by the same author.
This book is seriously weird. Expect the unexpected - and you will still be surprised. But what really stood out for me was the brilliant reading by Robert Degas. The way he brings the characters to life - from the doom-laden Lietenant Mamiya to the scatty yet death-obsessed teenager May Kasahara - is nothing short of extraordinary. I shall seek out his other readings.