It seems strange to me now, but I’ve only found out about Murakami’s work a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve learned that everybody and his mother has been into it for quite a long time.
But anyway, my first encounter with this author was (as recommended by a friend) with the book Kafka On The Shore.
I usually like to read books in the language they were originally written in but in this case I did have to make an exception (sadly I don’t read japanese at all). but it wasn’t all that bad because as I found out in the mean time, Murakami is not only a writer but also (among many other things he does) he is a translator —especially of novels and literature— and he either translated or oversaw the translation of most (all?) of his novels into english, this one included, I think, so I’m quite sure that what I read was as close to what he wanted to write as possible (given that you can never have a perfect match, of course).
So what’s the book like?
Well, I can definitely see why there are so many people who love it. The story is interesting, with a really great pace and easy to follow. Up to a point.
Of course there are some things which are quite alien to me because of culture differences, but those don’t really bother or take back from the pleasure of reading the book —quite the contrary.
So I liked the overall experience and read up the whole thing rather fast.
My only complain is that the very ending feels rather rushed-through, as if he somehow got to a point where he just had to finish up the book in a set number of pages and since he had gotten carried away before, he was now pressed for time and space and had to quicken up the pace quite a bit and also leave a few loose strands that never got quite tied up.
It felt like finishing up the story was a bit of a rush job and I was expecting a few things to fall into place which didn’t and I also felt like a few other elements were introduced right before the last chapters that could —and should— have been explored a bit further, but that just got lost in the rush to close everything up.
Of course, I might just be needing to read it again and see how the pieces fall together now —something that the author recommends doing anyway. Maybe I will do it someday and update these musings then…
In the end I found it a pretty entertaining read. It is not heavy reading or full-blown “serious” literature, but it is a good book that guarantees a few good hours of quite pleasurable entertainment.