By Haruki Murakami
This was my first book by Murakami and it left a pretty strange impact much like the book itself. The book is in no way a feel good one nor easy to get through. It is mostly dark with satire and ironic parts, but absolutely enrapturing!
The story begins with the protagonist making spaghetti and humming the thieving magpie. From such a simple setting, the author spins a labyrinth tale spanning Japan’s forgotten war in Manchuria, mystery women, a lost cat, a waterless well and even a wig making company. In its complicated plot, you can almost feel the breath of a pulp fiction, but the engrossing narration, or should I say the translation, keeps it fresh and moving.
The story unwraps in the words of Okada, the hero of the story. But often the reader is thrown off guard by the bizarre stories of the numerous intriguing characters, told in first person. Sometimes it feels like an unexpected journey to unknown destinations; towards the end, the narrative is so discombobulated that it is difficult to distinguish virtual from real. And by the time the various pieces come together, the reader, like the characters themselves, would have lost all sense of perception, time and events.
Murakami’s writing is often strewn, as if finding lucidity in disorder. And if this very factor does annoy the reader, it must be understood that, if he were to tell the tale in chronological order, then you would end up with a piece of humdrum novel in its place.
Read the book for its uncanny story telling, mystifying details, the concoction of otherwise unrelated events, all making a potpourri of a thrilling read. I am definitely picking up other books by Murakami!