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I borrowed another Murakami from the library - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It's one of his most recent novels, so we shall see if his surrealism continues.

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I've still, disappointingly, never read a Murakami novel. A friend is sending Norwegian Wood to me in the post next week. Is that a good place to start?

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I've never read Norwegian Wood, so can't say, but maybe Raven can help. I'm quite new to Murakami, even though I have been aware of him for ages.

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Norwegian Wood is as good a place to start as any.  Its his most main stream novel, though, so it is more "normal" than his other novels, which - as BB said - usually contain some surreal content.

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I've red Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as well as Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.

I loved Hard-Boiled Wonderland, the whole weirdness of it, the fantasy elements as well as the characters and the split between the different worlds.

Colorless Tsukuri Tazaki I did not like. It was not bad, the writing was engaging enough, but I found it too mundane. I hoped for more mystical explanations for the whole story and was very disappointed that there was pretty much no magic to the realism this time.

I was thinking of going for The Wild Sheep Chase or Kafka on the Shore next.

Maybe someone can offer some recommendations on which of Murakamis books are strong on the weird and magical.

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A Wild Sheep Chase is pretty good, and surreal in places (and you should certainly read it before the sequel Dance, Dance, Dance).

 

After the Quake is a book of short stories that has a few surreal bits in as well.

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I've red Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as well as Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.

I loved Hard-Boiled Wonderland, the whole weirdness of it, the fantasy elements as well as the characters and the split between the different worlds.

Colorless Tsukuri Tazaki I did not like. It was not bad, the writing was engaging enough, but I found it too mundane. I hoped for more mystical explanations for the whole story and was very disappointed that there was pretty much no magic to the realism this time.

I was thinking of going for The Wild Sheep Chase or Kafka on the Shore next.

Maybe someone can offer some recommendations on which of Murakamis books are strong on the weird and magical.

 

The Strange Library ~ very weird and magical, the only downside is, it's very short

 

IQ84 ~ I re-read it last year and I enjoyed it more the second time around, Haruki Murakami creates two worlds that are connected, everything is connected in the story and its great to read. 

 

Kafka on the Shore ~ very surreal, very weird and one of the characters can talk to cats. 

 

:cat:

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Thanks guys. I'll try out your suggestions, probably starting with the Strange Library, since I'm in the mood for shorter books right now. I have heard uniformly good stuff about IQ84, so that's certainly on the back burner.

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Colorless Tsukuri Tazaki I did not like. It was not bad, the writing was engaging enough, but I found it too mundane. I hoped for more mystical explanations for the whole story and was very disappointed that there was pretty much no magic to the realism this time.

 

I've just finished it, and while I enjoyed it I know what you mean. In fact while I was reading it, I was thinking to myself that I'm enjoying Murakami's writing more than the storyline. It wasn't a very long book, and it's one of his more 'normal' ones I think.

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I enjoy Murakami and have read a number of his books, and yet have a kind of peculiar amnesia when it comes to him, such that I've pretty well stopped buying his work. Every time I read one of his books it instantly disappears from my mind the moment I finish it. Even 1Q84, which I felt great enthusiasm due to some of its themes overlapping with profound changes in my life at the time of reading, has more or less completely vanished from my memory.  I suspect the phenomenon has something to do with the surreal quality of his works, the nebulous nature of his characters. I appreciate these in theory, but these characteristics fail to encode concrete impressions in memory. 

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I randomly discovered Murakami 5 years ago in a local library. I was browsing books at random and the simple cover and the description with words like "The Beatles" , "jazz" or "Jim Morrison" caught my attention. I have read some other books by him since then but he's a hit or miss. I love Hard Boiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World or 1Q84 but other works like A WIld Sheep Case were really meh. 

 

I am glad that I randomly stumbled on his works and I am working on reading all of his books eventually. Hopefully he will get a Nobel prize too but I highly doubt it since his subjects don't tick the right boxes for that prize. 

 

edit: Thread related. 

 

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Edited by MrCat

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edit: Thread related. 

 

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Love this. Absolutely spot on. Like musicians, most writers cover the same territory again and again with small variations. It doesn't have be to be a bad thing as long as there is new material along with the old. I mean, even Homer did it.  :P

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I also enjoyed 'After Dark'. I like the mixture of realism and surrealism in Murakami's work, which is widely reflective of Japanese literature and media in general. Strangely, though I find Murakami's one of the most inspiring writers from a writing perspective, I find I'm rarely able to get through one of his books.

 

I tried to read 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronical' last year, and couldn't get through it. I enjoy the almost comforting way he makes mundane activities interesting, but sometimes the book would go on for ages with absolutely nothing happening. I didn't feel it really had much of a plot, and I gave up after reading about 200 pages.

 

I also find his female characters a bit lacking. I vaguely remember the protagonist of After Dark being an exception, but a lot of the women characters don't seem to do much or have much personality, and seem to only be there for the sex scenes. Not all are like that, but too many are. Sometimes I feel like Murakami's writing reads like a hormonal teenage boy's fanfiction. It's just a bit off-putting.

 

I might read another of his in the future, probably one of the shorter ones. I liked 'Kafka on the Shore' and 'After Dark' the best so far.

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Sometimes I feel like Murakami's writing reads like a hormonal teenage boy's fanfiction. It's just a bit off-putting.

 

1Q84 was very much like this. There was a lot of sex, especially between women, and constant discussion of various body parts. No exaggeration, there was some sexual reference every 10 pages or so. :thud:

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1Q84 was very much like this. There was a lot of sex, especially between women, and constant discussion of various body parts. No exaggeration, there was some sexual reference every 10 pages or so. :thud:

Thanks, it's good to know I can expect this before going into it :).

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Murakami has a new novel coming out at the end of February, it will be titled "Killing Commendatore" and will be spread across multiple volumes.

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Today is also Murakami's Bday  :sign0072:

 

I wonder when a translation for his book will be available. It usually takes some time before his new books reach the west. 

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Hi, everybody,

 

I really feel like Murakami is an author, that's gonna bring a lot of future projects. He is definitely one of the modern classic authors, which everybody should read. 

 

I even wrote a blog post about, since I want to hook up more of my friends to read him, cause most of them find him slow to read and somehow misunderstood at first, but truly he is one of my favorite artists I've ever read. :)

Edited by Athena
Link removed. New members are not allowed to post links (or to sign up to promote their own book or website).

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I'm confused, because the German translation for Killing Commendatore will be out by April, the English one apparently needs till September. But I've always read Murakami in English, so I'll stick with that.

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It's actually intimidating and quite daunting to read a Murakami novel but its really pays off when you see the story unfold. I can connect with his character's ennui and idea of love. 

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Hux's post about Norwegian Wood has reminded me that I saw Murakami's new collection of short stories, First Person Singular, in Waterstone's last weekend.

 

I'm tempted to buy it, as I always enjoy his short stories, but all my other Murakami books are paperback...

 

Bloody OCD...

 

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Kafka on the Shore (2002) Haruki Murakami 

 

After enjoying Norwegian Wood I thought I'd give this a go. And while I enjoyed the reading experience once more, I wasn't exactly convinced by the writing. There were things that only mildly bothered me in Norwegian Wood but which I dismissed because I saw them as one-off issues for that particular book. Kafka on the Shore, however, demonstrated that they're part of Murakami's entire style. The endless descriptions of what every character is eating or drinking at all times (I know how food works, thanks), and the fact that everyone seems to express even the most basic degree of fondness for one another through some kind of sexual contact ('hi, you seem nice, would you like a hand-job?'). In Norwegian Wood this stuff seemed (tangentially) to make a certain amount of sense given the context but here, it becomes clear that this is just Murakami's thing. It doesn't spoil the book in any way, it's simply a little tedious.

Then we have the actual story. It's all rather vague and metaphorical, a story about alternate dimensions, parts of your soul being lost, and so on. That's fine but I tend to view that kind of thing as more of a gimmick than anything else; one which is masking the fact that the book doesn't actually have anything meaningful to say about the human condition. Dazai's 'No Longer Human' has a great deal to say about the complexities of human existence but at no point does he rely on KFC's Colonel Sanders turning up as a character to get you a good blow job from a sex worker (that actually happens). I can imagine that if you're someone who doesn't read much then this might seem so whacky and weird that it's an example of mind-bending literary genius. When, in truth, it's simply a story about a magic stone and a man who can communicate with cats.

That all being said, I really did enjoy reading it. Murakami writes in a thoroughly fluid and page turning manner that is hard to knock. But that's the least I'd expect from genre fiction. And that's what this is: genre fiction. Something to read on the beach when you're on holiday.

I'd definitely recommend it as a piece of entertainment but generally speaking it's not my cup of tea. I will probably delve into more of Murakami's work at a later date but I'm in no rush. I think I've got the gist of what he's about. Fun to read but of little literary significance.

 

7/10

Edited by Hux

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