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on 27 April 2017
As a Murakami fan (In particular I love 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore and Hardboiled Wonderland), I was really looking forward to this. It was a major disappointment.
A bit like a much lesser version of Norwegian Wood in style but the main character was insipid and the story was uninspiring and directionless. I did not like the 'reason' for the mystery that drove the story in the beginning and I began to become quite irritated by the ways in which women were being portrayed.
There was so very little of the bizarre that Murakami does so well and without that, and with an absolute overload on the classic Murakami OTT descriptions of features it just really started to annoy me.
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on 27 January 2018
Oh. Boy. I had to really give myself a little bit of time to breathe and control myself before reviewing this one, because my reaction to it was SO STRONG. On the one hand, that's a good thing...right? On the other hand...no it wasn't. It's actually the second time in my life that I've broken my vows to the bookworm life and thrown an actual book across the room. But let me explain. To begin with? I was kind of into this book. It was a slow starter, took ages to get to any of the points that it wanted to make and was probably the most hipster thing I'd read in a long time. But that's okay, I was in the mood for something a little deeper, full of symbolism, and possibly a teeny bit pretentious.

Then came the middle, and my rating of this book soared. I was totally gripped! It got weird of course, which I understand to be a trait of Murakami's. Sex dreams, paranormal stories, an obsession with stations and strange inner monologues all featured, but I was gripped by a need to get answers. The story has so many plot twists, and they all are designed to make the reader not only question themselves and life, but be invested in what had happened and would happen to the characters. I liked Tsukuru as a characters, elements of his life (his anxieties and depression especially) resonated with my own experiences and that made me care about him.

And then...it ended. Or rather, it didn't. Because after solving only one mystery, Murakami wasted his final chapters obsessing some more over Japanese stations, reflecting on Tsukuru's watch and family, do some 'deep thinking' and then go to bed not answering a phone that KEPT RINGING. Who was on the other end? I don't know. But what about Sara's answer? *shrug*. Hang on, what happened to Shiro and Haida? NO IDEA. It left me feeling SO frustrated, and even a little cheated. I hate vague endings, but this didn't even feel like an ending. I should never feel like I'm missing pages when reading a book. So why did I give this book a high-ish rating? Because it has been a while since I cared THAT much about 'what happens at the end'. I can't deny that I was hooked on this one, and the writing was good too. Murakami is certainly a master at what he does. I'm just not sure it's to my personal taste.
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The only other Murakami book I've read to date has been Norwegian Wood, which I devoured in a single day. I had high hopes for this and was not disappointed.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki tells the story of a young man exiled from his friendship group. Years later, a date encourages him to revisit the painful period that so profoundly affected his life and he tracks down his old friends one by one to uncover what happened.

The story jumps between past and present with ease, and I had no issue with the fact that so many of the book's anecdotes go unresolved because they serve more like parables than twists. If you're looking for a neat and tidy ending you might be disappointed, but the book left me feeling fulfilled and optimistic for the main character's future. I only wish we had a British English translation as the Americanisms were quite irritating, although I didn't let that affect my rating. Highly recommended!
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on 12 November 2015
Every year at Nobel prize time somebody says that Murakami ought to win so I thought I would try one of his higher rated novels. I wasn't terribly impressed by this one. Of course things get lost in translation but I found it flat and unengaging. The protagonist is indeed 'colorless' which doesn't help, but there are whole sections where nothing much happens. Partly because the book is set in Japan and has almost exclusively Japanese characters it just about held my interest throughout, but I expect to forget all about it in a week or so and wouldn't hurry to read another Murakami.
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on 1 August 2015
...but achieves a really magical emotional depth. I had to come back to this review after reading others' reviews. Clearly although a lot of us care a lot about Murakami, we differ a lot on what's good and what's not. I have to say that this one feels like a monster achievement. The magic realism is left behind, the story is all realism, yet the magic remains - and that's amazing. The set-up is intriguing. Yet the real genius comes after the 'reveal' with the long, elegiac coda that is uncharacteristically emotional. As ever in Murakami there are people failing to communicate, failing to connect. For once he captures the tragedy of this truism. The ending, so criticised by many reviewers here, is, well ... just perfect. I wonder if he'll ever be able to do better than this. It's wonderful. What a writer!
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on 2 February 2016
It's strangely wonderful. Classic Murakami tones but with social networking and modern technology in it, unlike his older novels. As always Murakami creates somewhat mundane leading characters whom you are yet drawn to, and elements of reality and mystery intertwine and swim through the story, less so than in some of his past work but it's still there. It's not my favourite of his work but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to any Murakami fan.
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on 19 November 2017
From the offset, Murakami has the reader questioning. This continues throughout the book as the character pursues answers, and we are taken on an unusual journey for answers with a surprisingly satisfying ending that has us questioning the events of the book and leaves us thinking and asking questions.
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on 6 June 2016
I am genuinely addicted to Murakami despite occasional frustrations (often caused by the fact that you have to read carefully or you can miss things, here including the point of the title). But it's wonderful stuff and leaves you hanging at the end, wondering what the outcome was. And who the hell translates these things ? They must have marvellous knowledge of the two languages.
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on 1 November 2016
Having fallen out of love with literature for several years Murakami has rekindled the flame .. After a horrific divorce with no explanation these observations on rejection and subsequent confusion were so accutely observed .. happy endings ??
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on 20 September 2015
Another great work by a great author. Like so many of his books, this book speaks to the light and dark of the human condition and the various aspects of human relationships. Strongly recommend you read this book.
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