*The following information applies to the English Vintage softcover edition. (the novel was originally published in Japanese in 1994).*
Translator: Jay Rubin
Rating: 3 stars
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I don’t have a whole lot to say on this novel. What’s notable about this book, for me, is that I finally had a bit of an ‘Aha!’ moment in which I came to a conclusion as to why I enjoy some Murakami novels more than others even if they are all of the same objective ‘goodness’.
First, though, I would like to make my standard comment on the prose. Succinct and straightforward, bare and minimal, saying everything, saying nothing. I feel with Murakamis stories, there is nothing more than words on a page but then there is also so much more than just words on the page…it’s a curious sensation, one that I rarely come across of in other books.
Now, my ‘revelation’ – I think to fully enjoy and understand a Murakami novel you have to identify with the protagonist in an even greater way than you might identify with a protagonist of any other novel. I have read many of Murakami’s novels before coming to this conclusion as an explanation to why I love some of his books and just ‘don’t get’ others. This is the reason why Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart are my favourite Murakami novels and why this novel is not. I still enjoyed the process of reading this book because that prose! But I didn’t truly comprehend and understand it, or experience it in an almost transcendental manner like I did Kafka on the Shore.
An afterthough: When a naked seventeen-year-old girl is shedding tears in the moonlight, anything can happen. It’s true. – May Kasahara, pg 595. I adored May. I would love to read her story…but she isn’t ordinary enough to narrate a Murakami novel, is she?