I bought this audiobook based on the positive reviews it received. Murakami is a skilled writer and his touching upon subjects like consciousness and neuroscience kept me interested, as I studied both in college. Unfortunately, he didn't do either justice and nearly everything else about this book also falls flat. I felt that the story was on the verge of getting really good at several points and it never happened. Everything was sloppily addressed in broad strokes. So many parts were simply or obviously filler that had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. It was annoying, for example, when Miramaki would introduce dialogue or musings on the musical or literary tastes of the characters. It was much more an opportunity for Miramaki to crow about his own knowledge and interests. It was dry filler material that was particularly glaring because there were so many important and relevant aspects of the book that should have been explored more in-depth, but never were. Hence, plateaus, but no peaks. There was a lot of potential here, but it was wasted. This is my first review and I'd normally not waste my time...but this novel was so disappointing that I feel obligated to warn others who might also get duped into believing positive reviews = good quality. Not so.
I wanted to see if other readers felt the same as me and came across Charles' rant:
"This is sick trash!!
By Charles (Lumberton, Texas, United States) Jun 11, 2011
"I cannot believe all the 5 star ratings that this book received. The main character is a black, gay, women , who is a captain in the coast guard. She seduces a teenage girl, can outfight any man in the known world, great military tactician, and somewhat a minor politician. Ridiculous!! There is numerous lesbian sex scenes, S&M sex scenes, rape, and one character who teaches two 12 year old girls to use S&M sexual torture on a male prisoner. This is the worst trash I have ever listened to and be assured I'm not a prude or bible thump-er. Makes me wonder what kind of sicko this author is."
Now, I didn't care for the book for a couple of reasons, but I completely disagree with Sir Charles. Dude, saying you aren't a Bible thumper (or a bigot) doesn't make it any less true. Some of what Charles mentions is actually what made me stick with the book to the end. Well, different strokes I guess. That being said, I wouldn't recommend the book. I recognize that a lot of people did/will enjoy it, but the book was a mixed bag for me. It started out well...time travel and the struggle to adapt to a novel environment, but then it gets a little bogged down in agricultural/fishing/division of labor details, which reminded me a little of Moby Dick. I'm of the opinion that Melville could have told the story of Moby Dick in about fifty pages and the same could be said of Island. Again, different strokes. The second half of the book is mostly military strategy and battle sequences. It was too much an amalgam of stories I've read before. I considered getting the entire Nantucket series, but I think I'll go in a different direction this time.
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