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on 13 January 2014
This novel took me a long time to get into. When I first bought it many many months ago, I bought it based on its chapter titles, the review on the cover, and the fact that I really enjoy Japanese literature. However, a couple of chapters in, I realized that this book is not as entertaining or as meaningful as its synopsis claimed it would be, and I put it aside in favour of another book. Months later, I decided to go back to reading this book.

1969, what a fascinating year that was in history, and yet Ken's outlook on it was nothing more than amusing. The protagonists rambling goes on for pages as he allows you to get inside of his head, but I found nothing that really inspired me. I chuckled now and again, but for the most part, I found his thoughts tiring and quite immature to tell you the truth - for someone trying to rebel and start a revolution at school (to impress a girl) that is.

I was actually more interested in the development of his friend Adama. Now that's a character that I found poignant, with interesting thoughts and ideas. His progression in the book from the popular, good looking, smart student to the good looking, troubled, rebellious outcast was fascinating. I would've liked to learn more about him and to have had him play a much more prominent part in the book.

Alas, we get stuck with Ken, a self-pitying troublemaker. A typical teenager, with typical teen woes. I've read that this was a Japanese take on Catcher in the Rye, and I have to say that this was nothing like it. A failed attempt if anything.

An amusing read about a teenager and his superficial problems. Read it, if that's the sort of thing you're looking for.
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on 19 May 2013
Ryu never quite reaches the peaks that Haruki does, but he comes closest here. This book is a lovely evocation of the tension and the confusion as Japan reached the end of the 1960s.
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