Every year I buy a Murakami book, and every year I read it, dislike it, and spend about an hour or so wondering why he is so popular.
This year was no different. I bought Kafka on the Shore and it is, I think, the sixth book of his that I have read. And I didn’t dislike it strongly (I never dislike them strongly), but I didn’t like it much, either. It continued along and the pages went down easy enough, but I always get that feeling that there’s nothing actually there with Murakami. The layers of mystery pile on, but what is there beneath all of that? Oh, he could say (and he does say) that the mysteries are all focused upon a certain direction, but is it true? The text doesn’t seem to reveal any of this truth.
And yet the books are fun enough to read. That’s not why I read, though. I’m not curmudgeonly about books that area easy to read, but I also don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little more.
So in this book there are two stories, one in the odd chapters, one in the even, and while they seem to overlap, they also kind of don’t. One has a strange 15 year old boy, and one has a strange elderly man. The set pieces are interesting, but they don’t add up to anything, and they are far too saturated in popular culture. And. And, and, and – then the book ends. And that’s it.
And I’ll wait another year, and try again, I guess. I can’t imagine what would happen to my brain if he won the Nobel. But of course he won’t.
The Books, Read page contains a list of all of the books I have read this year.