This review is for people who are Murakami newbies and have just read the book and just can’t find the nearest well to climb into (get it?).
Why? Because this is a nice 600+ page book at the end of which you really come to know what do you mean by loose ends.
It’s like looking at an abstract art painting that you know is good(for it is by a well respected painter), and you just don’t why. Seldom happens for books. Either I like the book or I don’t. But once in a while there comes a time, where you just don’t know what the hell happened.
Spoilers Alert from here on. But then you will Thank me later.
So there are about 1000 little stories in the book, which are perfect in themselves. You will even enjoy some of them. Some of the other stories are in painful detail ( like the one skinning one person alive... pun intended). The characters are well defined and yet super super weird.
Sub-plots inter-connect in the loosest of terms. Has it ever happened to you that you have a really dreamy night. You are aware that you are dreaming, and then in the middle of some elaborate crazy chase scene, you question the plot- “How did I come here?” . Yeah. Welcome to the book.
Mr. Murakami likes to confuse people through his writing and he is divine at it. If you are the kind of person who loves the intricate details and flow of writing, but don’t want to exercise control on it and don’t want to wrap your head around it immediately- you will really enjoy this book.
There are important characters doing stuff that you just don’t get. There are artifacts of significance in the story(like.. baseball bat?), that came through characters that have NO role to play in the story (the singer who burns his hand and later gets beaten up by the protagonist… don’t even ask me why). The bat comes in significance later too when the Chinese baseball captain is bashed with the bat… when the zoo animals are killed. Yeah, why would any of this stuff happen? No clue.
It’s not all bad gory stuff. There are some weird funny things and characters as well. Apparently all shops and everyone in the protagonists world listens to English classical music. I love it the protagonist’s daily routine and his cat, Mackerel.
As I said, it’s like a dream and you don’t question it. Just go with the flow.
I also love the girl May Kasahara, who keeps reminding the protagonist (and the readers) how weird it all is. I think she is the thread that the protagonist as well as the readers use to connect to the ‘normal’ world. I also love characters Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Yes, they are aliases. What were their real names? You won’t know now(or ever).
On this happy note- let me close this review. For who are still with me here and haven’t read it yet- I think you can go ahead and read it anyway. It’s okay. Misery Loves Company.