Thursday, August 9, 2007

Kafka On the Shore/Haruki Murakami

You know, I'm so torn about Murakami. I'd like to say I unequivocally adore him, but to be honest it does get a little touch and go when sisters start getting raped and perfectly preserved WWI soldiers guarding secret entrances go unexplained. Not that I need explanations for everything---I don't, especially since it's Murakami we're talking about here. So in that light, I suppose you could say Murakami emotionally and stylistically satisfied me, but left me slightly parched intellectually. I really, really wanted some of the major mysteries presented to be tied together in some overtly stated way, and I didn't get it. Pooh.

I'm supposed to rate this, aren't I? Let's go with a firm: Eh.


moonrat said...

I know so many people who LOVE Murakami, but the farthest I've been able to get through any of his books is the first 100 pages of HARDBOILED WONDERLAND. Not only did I not think the style was particularly artful, I wasn't entertained by the plot, either. This was one of those rare occasions when I gave up before I finished reading.

Maybe I just picked the wrong book?

I find myself distrustful, though, of anyone as prolific as Murakami is.

orientalcracker said...

ok, but hardboiled wonderland is actually my favorite book by him! style = good. entertainment level = good. ending, once again, just mostly good. maybe you should try norwegian wood. that seems to be the popular favorite.

angelle said...

norwegian wood = def my fave. also wind-up bird chronicle. i have a murakami addiction. i don't always understand what the hell is going on or why, but i don't particularly care. i feel like reading his books are like having a dream. nothing really makes sense, except that it sort of does, and things just happen, and why the hell shouldn't they? i couldn't explain my love affair with murakami, except that i want to read every last book of his. my most recent read of his - wild sheep chase (prequel to dancedancedance) was a bit of a disappointment, but it was also one of his first novels and i dont think he hit his groove yet.

Madison Guy said...

I'm conflicted too. Part of th eproblem is I think he is starting to parody himself, certainly in KAFKA ON THE SHORE. For a long time after reading WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE I thought it was a masterpiece, now I'm not so sure and wonder if I projected what meaning I found there:

Man loses cat.
Man loses wife.
Man goes into well, finds entrance to some sort of underworld/dreamworld/other plane of existence.
Many mysteries are revealed, but few if any are resolved or explained.

OK. I suspect he is really a master of the short story, his effects work much better in that medium, but who can make a living doing that? He doesn't even teach.

The stories in AFTER THE QUAKE are really brilliant and capture something real.