I just read this book in two days. Great read! The first couple of chapters are disorienting, give it time. It reminded me of the movie Inception, although, of course, this book predates that movie by a couple decades. Still I could see the action happening in my mind. I think it would make an excellent film. This is the first Murakami I have read. Although the characters have no names, especially the protagonist, I found myself identifying with them anyway. This book is a fun ride and hard to define. Postmodern literature at its best? Enjoyable and thought-provoking.
One of Murakami's stranger books, this novel tells two parallel but interrelated stories in alternating chapters, and both stories are fantastic. I enjoyed it very much even though it left me scratching my head -- what really DID happen? Highly recommended.
I was such a fan of Murakami's but hadn't read him in a few years... and it seems I've grown out of him. Or maybe this one was too dated, it's from 1991; or maybe it's the translator's fault. I just felt annoyed by most of this book - like the overall tone was so chit chattery, I found it distracting. Distracting and off-putting, as much of the dialog and narrative musings are presented to be profound or deep but just came off to me as silly. For example, "The Ginza line is always yellow. Why yellow, I don't know, but yellow it is. When I think Ginza Line, I see yellow." Well, stop signs are always red, so who cares?
Unlike a conventional mystery where the reader must pay attention to details in order to solve the crime, or conventional fiction where you follow a plot and even get caught up in it, in this book nothing makes any sense to me so my mind wanders and there is no consequence. I just didn't find this satisfying.
It bothered me when the data shuffling main character is traveling underground with the mad scientist's granddaughter, being chased by terrifying INKling creatures, and it's like Murakami forgot that he wrote the guy got his belly slashed open or maybe he added that part in later because it's sloppy and noticeable in two parts: first he establishes how painful it is, "I maneuvered my legs into jeans, trying not to aggravate the wound,""bent low like this, each pitch of my hips stabbed an ice pick into my gut" etc., but when we come back to them it's "I stuffed my flashlight in my jeans, she strapped hers up across her back" and then on being afraid of the terrifying INKlings, "I'm not such a wimp usually, but a sundae of leeches, all squashed and sticky on top of darkness and fatigue and lack of sleep was testing the limits of my cool." (what about having just had his stomach slit open?!)
Even the gimmick of alternating real life chapter with made up world of his subconscious got old to me and offered no real surprises. It seemed like it would, but if it did it just went over my head. (shrug)
I read a little over half of this, but I just couldn't get into it.