It’s a short and quick story that only narrates the few hours of the early morning (duh). It mostly revolves around sisters Mari, a girl who wanders around Tokyo and meets new interesting people, and Eri, a girl who decides to just go to sleep and hasn’t decided when to wake-up. It has its weirdness as well, like the man in the TV, but isn't the idea of sushi weird as well? Risking your stomach for the subtle flavors of raw tuna. It's simple like the simple tekkamaki, and by simple, I mean in Haruki Murakami terms.
Kafka on the Shore is about Kafka Tamura who runs away from home and falls into an Oedipus-like fate for some reason, and Nakata, an old man who can speak to cats and is somehow intrigued by Kafka. But Kafka’s actually the old man, right? But he’s Crow too? Is he the cat as well? The book doesn’t answer any of those questions. The author says himself, "…several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader.” The plot leaves you confused like you just ate sea urchin gonads. Trust me, it sounds horrible and looks horrible too, but in the end it leaves you satisfied.
We never get to know the name of the narrator in the book but we do get to know his (possibly?) tragic end. Both narrators are one but are in very different settings. Hard-Boiled Wonderland tells of a normal man’s life gone horribly wrong as he is hired by a scientist to participate in his experiment. The End of the World has a persona that stumbles into an unfamiliar world and tries to find a way of escape while not losing himself in the process. Two stories intertwine like the many flavors of a futomaki roll.
While 1Q84 starts of as a portrayal of the daily lives and backgrounds of the two main characters, it eventually starts to show it’s true, surrealist nature. Murakami starts to throw interesting, but out-of-this-world scenarios at the two characters, showing that this universe that they live in is not as it seems. The novel takes you on a ride filled with mystery and thrills, as you try to figure out what exactly is going on. Along the way, Murakami paints pictures with themes such as family, religion, cults, sex, and morality, all while using his novel as a canvas. It's explosively satisfying, like a spicy tuna roll.
In 1987, Murakami had made a dramatic departure from the style he was associated with when he released Norwegian Wood. A tale of love and loss, Norwegian Wood was a departure from Murakami’s previous works as it was a poignant portrayal of the life of a youth in love during the late 1960’s. When reading the novel, you can actually relate to the main character, Toru, as he goes through college and beyond. Toru’s growth as a person is graphically chronicled as he deals with the love he feels for the shy and vulnerable Naoko, the past girlfriend of Toru’s deceased best friend, and a few other women he meets along the way. By the end you no longer feel as if you had read a novel, but instead had experienced Toru’s journey alongside him. Such is the talent and charisma of Murakami to immerse you in his tale. The tale is almost sweet and has one of the calmest endings there is in Murakami's collection, like a piece of simple, yet very flavorful, salmon sashimi.
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