You can read and enjoy it just for the story line, which involves lonely characters who connect with one another in a world that has turned uncanny on them. Or you can ponder deeper metaphysical questions about reality along with the author and the characters.
I think you have to be an introvert and willing to suspend belief about abnormal events to appreciate what Murakami has to offer. But this work is rich, involving and perfectly constructed.
Don't be surprised when Murakami wins the Nobel Prize eventually.
I adored "Norwegian by Night," as a charming mystery with vivid characters and lots of cultural insights. This sort-of-sequel was disappointing. There's some intercultural insight when the Norwegian characters come to the US, but the author brings in US race relations in a very heavy-handed way that spoiled the storytelling. Not a recommended read.
A lot of unexpected aspects to this book. Even if you've read a lot of spy novels, this one is different, in its premise, its hazy politics, its psychology and its plotting. Many surprises; many plot turns revealed in a single sly sentence here or there. The writing style is extremely confident and accomplished. I would read the next book by this author in a heartbeat!
This is a picture book! I would not have ordered it had I realized that. It doesn't seem to be quite intended for grownups. I don't know who its audience was supposed to be. Thew book description claims it is a " a complete guide to more mindful travel," but how can it be complete when there are so few words in the book??
There's something distant and remote in Pattison's writing that makes it hard to stay involved in this story. In addition, he has a black-and-white attitude toward the Chinese/Tibetan conflict. The Chinese are nothing but brutal ignoramuses and the Tibetans are nothing but victims of oppression. If that's what you believe before reading this book, it will confirm your beliefs, for sure. It's too bad because I would have liked to see a more nuanced view of the Tibetan situation.
This book juggles and combines two perspectives - a present-day composer for Hollywood films who has returned to his native England and bought a house once lived in by a supposed murderess, and that of the supposed murderess during WWII and the 1950s.
The pace of the book is sometimes ponderous, and you may well wonder what the heck the woman's experiences in Singapore and other parts of Asia during the War of the Pacific have to do with the rest of the story. However, at the end everything comes together in a surprising yet very satisfying way.
Recommended, as long as you can be a patient and appreciative reader.