Tuesday, 20 June 2017

I've read: hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world

by Haruki Murakami

Let me just start by admitting I've never really understood the hype about Murakami. I'm sure the books are well written, and maybe I've just not read the best ones, but... no. This is not for me. I read my first Murakami book - Norwegian Wood - while vising Japan in 2004. It made me feel unhappy and lost. Well, to be honest, my whole trip to Japan I felt quite lonely and sad, and maybe it wasn't the best time for reading it... So... but what about this book then?

This is a very strange book. When I had finished the first chapter and began the second I was totally confused and wondered if this was a collection of short stories? The reason for that was that the second chapter took place in a completely different world. After a while I realized that the book continues this way, with two parallel stories, one chapter you are in Tokyo, following this 35 something man that work for an information company. The other story is about another man, a newcomer to a small town, isolated from the rest of the world by a giant wall. Strange things happen to both men. After about 4/5 of the book you are let in on the secret, how these to two stories are connected.

Oh, let me just stop here for a sec. As I was writing this I wanted to write the name of this Tokyo-man. Couldn't for the life of me remember it (and I finished this book today). So I pickedit up and after some careful browsing I'm pretty sure you never get to know it. And I haven't even once reflected upon this fact the whole time I read it! And I think this signifies one of the things I don't like about this book, the fact that I just don't care. None if the characters are described in a way that make me feel much sympathy for them, or really care what happens with them. They feel, maybe not one-dimensional, but I just can't identify with them. The rest of the characters in the book - pretty much all of them - are in my opinion just that: one-dimensional. 

Yeah, I didn't like this one either. 

I still have another Murakami-book - Kafka on the Shore - in my bookshelf, so at some point I'll have a go and give him another chance. Norwegian Wood was published 1987 and this one 1985, maybe a more recent book (the Kafka one is from 2002) is easier for me to relate to...

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