I’ve just finished Murakami’s latest offering and I’m torn between really liking it, or feeling shortchanged. Out of all the Murakami novels that I have read, this one is perhaps his “simplest”. Why do I use air quotes, you ask? Well, even though the plot is basic in terms of narrative, the reader is still treated to the lexicon, syntax, emotional complexity, and philosophical internal turmoil that are all trademark Murakami.
The plot centers around Tsukuru Tazaki who was once a member of a tight knit group of friends before he seeks out new adventures at college in Tokyo. Upon returning to his hometown on a break, he discovers that his friends no longer want anything to do with him, and will not give him an explanation as to why. What ensues is Tsukuru going about his life wondering what he has done. Throughout the story, Tsukuru goes on a journey to discover what is the true essence of friendship, love and the choice we make in order to live our lives.
The plot has been hashed out a million times before, however, fans of Murakami will know that he is able to add a new passion to this, some argue, overused trope of “finding yourself”. This novel won’t necessarily appeal to the masses; Murakami, although becoming evermore popular, still has a niche fan base. However, I do think that it could well be a great beginners novel if you have never read any Murakami but are curious to see what his writing is like. Being only around 375 pages, it is just right to get a taste.
My only gripe with this novel was that it seemed to offer more than what it could deliver. I can’t go into details as it would spoil plot points, but even though I’m not looking for a nice little bow tie wrapped ending, I do feel as though it could have been 100 pages longer. But I suppose that is me just being greedy!
Give this one a go. You might love it and discover a new favourite author, or you may hate it and therefore not have to add to your TBR pile. You can’t really lose!
Until next time,