©2006 Haruki Murakami; (P)2006 Naxos AudioBooks
Jumping into a dark well to think to the point of starvation, characters that resemble caricatures, seem to appear and disappear with names such as Crete and Malta, a cat that comes back with a different tail... all this makes this book odd and amazing. This is my second book by this author and I remain intrigued by his storytelling and style. My issue is only with the violence, where the author dwells on wartime atrocities, taking care to describe torture techniques a bit too graphically for my taste. The audio is effective and keep you going until the end.
Say something about yourself!
Bold. Funny. Horrific. Ethereal. And Fantastic in all senses of the word. Echoes of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Beckett. There are many, many memorable characters and scenes; but Murakami creates through these only the major pieces of a larger puzzle. He appears to be drawing parallels between two kinds of relationships (a) the interactions (loving, mundane, barbaric, kind, cruel, lustful, comic, duplicitous) humans have with each other and (b) the interactions (same list, pretty much) we have in our minds with our past, present, and future selves. These relationships cross and fade into each other so smoothly that neither we nor the characters are completely sure where one ends and another begins. A really wonderful book that feels like it will provoke thought for quite awhile.
I had read this book in hard copy. I enjoyed it even more listening to this audio version. The reader is brilliant, as is the novel. Be prepared for a surreal yet vivid, intriguing experience.
3.5 stars. If you like Murakami, you will probably enjoy this. If you have not yet read a Murakami novel, I wouldn't recommend starting with this one -- it might prevent you from reading some of the most fun and engaging literature of modern times. Try Kafka on the Shore, perhaps.
Although generally engaging (I really did enjoy listening to the book), there are too many subplots that aren't adequately resolved, which left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied when I finished the book.
I've read elswhere that the original Japanese version was "stripped down" for the English translation as it was too long, and as a result, certain storylines being cut short. This is plausible.
The narrator is excellent.
I found this to be a very entertaining story. This is not the type of book I usually buy, and I'm glad that I tried it! It's a wonderful tale with several other stories within. It is well written and well read - very enjoyable.
What a fun read. The story is a skillful tale that blends and blurs reality and unreality; and which is which? Ultimately all seem to be only facets of the same reality. Maybe that is too ambitious a description. It is enough to say that the story is interesting, mysterious, comedic, thought provoking but above all entertaining throughout. The narrator is excellent, and every character has their own personality and voice. I enjoyed this book very much.
I actually read it in Japanese first, and was curious enough to listen to the English Audiobook. It is in a way scary because I did have my own imagination of the world of this book. However, I was NOT dissapointed. This is pretty good interpretation and performance. I loved it and listened three times so far.
I just downloaded this. I jump around a bit from genre to genre, but I alway gravitate to longer selections for the value and engagement. I'm not quite sure where I would put this as far as genre goes, but I was hooked after only a few chapters. The engineering is of good quality and the narrator keeps my attention and has good enunciation and pace. The story- well I will let you decide (I hate spoilers), but I can say this it's hard to put away once you get in to it. There is mild sexual content so be warned, but for anyone well read it is very tame.
As I slowly got into this book, I laughed out loud at times, was perplexed and filled with wonderment, and startled by some characters and actions which are so strange, others so real and horrific.... it is a very odd book. I doubt if I could "read" it but I loved listening to it.
Let me begin by saying that this is a very strange story indeed. It will stay with me for a good while. I do want to emphasize, however, that I feel that the narrator did an exceptional and very entertaining job with very difficult material.
I loved most parts of this story and ...well, some parts were horrifically fascinating. Like a gruesome traffic accident that you cannot look away from even though you know you'll have nightmares from the sight.
This is not a book that has a "specific" story but rather an intimate portrait of a microcosmic slice of humanity. I cried, I laughed (especially at the neighbor girl, May [sp?]) and I cringed. In fact, I believe I ran almost the entire gamut of emotions that I am capable of...including some disappointment in the way in which the author finished this story. I don't always expect everything wrapped up in neat tidy bundles but I felt a little flat, so to speak, in the last act.
Would I have missed this opportunity to have entered this world and met these characters? Emphatically no. Would I have liked a slightly different conclusion? yes.
"A great story"
A mother triumph for the author . Please read this book with the understanding you are about to be taken by the hand to a beautiful and violent place .
"Hard to understand"
Its so long!! And hard to understand maybe its better to read vs listening. Sad ending.
"Just rather odd"
I chose this book due to previous rave reviews. I had never read anything by this author, and like to vary my listening. I guess this just wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't empathise with the very strange protagonist and his weird sexual fantasies, and I didn't really care what happened to him either in the present or in the future - in fact it seems perfectly understandable that both his wife and his cat might have had the desire to do a runner. The other characters were in equal measure odd and dull, and I found their extremely lengthy ramblings on the meaning of life mind numbingly boring. I found the story bizarre in the extreme, and I didn't enjoy the more brutal scenes. I'm sure there is plenty of deep meaning, there are definitely threads of symmetry in the intertwined tales, and I have no doubt that you could study this book and come up with some great essays on literary technique, but as entertainment, it did absolutely nothing for me, and I couldn't wait for it to end. And the ending? Like the rest of the book, an uneventful disappointment.
"Unique and engrossing"
This is the second Murakami I have read and I really like his writing. Bit surreal but in a worldly way. Powerful main story with others intertwined. Fabulous characters brought vividly to life by Mr Degas (a top class narrator). Love his use of language - feels like quality.
"Amazing narration, weirdly interesting book"
a David Lynch movie
It was quite a lengthy book but the amazing narration actually made it possible to go through
"Miss one sentence and you could miss the story."
Murakami is master of every detail yet can hide the larger ones right till the end.
Rupert Degas is phenomenal as every character there is no limit to his capabilities.
"Well worth the listen"
As the far as the audio element it was on a par with most of what I've listened to; not noticeably better but definitely not poor.
It's hard for me to think of a good comparison, in many ways very little happens in the book and there's no climactic point to the story. But to me that was the point, it was interesting and full of content, and a refreshing change to a lot of what's out there. I don't know if that's true of Japanese novels or if it's specific to Murakami, but I've read several of his books (and am making my way through the rest) and I recommend trying them.
I can't describe an exact emotion, but I was definitely emotionally invested in the characters, they were brilliantly written.
"Not sure what to think about it"
The storyline is interesting and would not change a thing.
The female character has is interesting. You know that she holds the mystery but have to wait for her to reveal it.
I hated it and that is the reason why I only gave the book 3 stars. I have no doubts that he might have actic skills but his voice and a way he was acting characters out was annoying!
Not sure as the book is a slow paste with no much dynamic and this does not sale.
"Do I have the stamina to get to the end!"
Yes, but for the insight into some Japanese cultural views rather than for the story. It seems to be a series of small scenes, which may or may not go somewhere. I'm still on the journey.
Its a book I need quiet to listen to, as opposed to my favourite story telling books that draw me in and block out the world.
"Not my taste"
Reduce it by half
A book with a proper story
Yes, got the Name of the Wind. He's an excellent reader and brings characters to life.
I give up after about half of the book. There is no story line to follow, I don't engage with the characters, and I keep dozing off.
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