Shelves: miscellaneous-fiction , china-japan-asia I have finally read a Murakami. In conjures exciting unease and bafflement. It is a book of paradoxes and uncertainty, leaving me satisfied with being left, in some ways, unsatisfied. What sort of story? Genre labels can be useful, but can also be an irrelevant distraction.
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Shelves: miscellaneous-fiction , china-japan-asia I have finally read a Murakami. In conjures exciting unease and bafflement. It is a book of paradoxes and uncertainty, leaving me satisfied with being left, in some ways, unsatisfied.
What sort of story? Genre labels can be useful, but can also be an irrelevant distraction. However, with this book, I found I have finally read a Murakami. However, with this book, I found myself repeatedly wondering what type of story it was. By the end, I was still unsure, but glad of the tension caused by doubt. At various times, this was magical-realism, murder mystery, sci-fi, political thriller, romance not too much, thankfully!
It might have been easier to consider what it was not. However, that was just before Google, laptops, mobile phones etc, which means the protagonists do not have the opportunities one now takes for granted. Set it now, and the plot would need tweaking, but in 50 years, it will be historical enough for no one to notice. Reading it now, gave it an intriguing edge that added to the general sense of shifting reality. Connectedness and un reality Connectedness is the clearest theme of the book and one that links it to David Mitchell, a known fan of Murakami, especially Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas.
There is perhaps unintended or prescient? What is real, and what is not? As things get really weird, the narrator asks, "was the sickness in here or out there? You know, cultural snow. It was a strange place: "The Dolphin Hotel was conceptually sorry Normalness it lacked Its corners caked with unfulfilled dreams.
In its place, he finds the swish new Hotel Dauphin. Dabbling in his past brings him into contact with Gotunda, a high school class mate, who is now a successful but unfulfilled, divorced and working to pay debts and alimony actor. Other key characters are Yumiyoshi, a pretty hotel receptionist, and Yuki, a bright thirteen year old rich drop-out, largely ignored by her divorced parents.
Characters, plot lines and reality twist and tangle, aided by dream-like visions, a portal to another dimension of reality, and a character with mild psychic abilities. The title relates to an instruction given to the narrator quite early and that seems as if it will be the key to everything, or at least something, but nothing really comes of it more details in spoiler. All the way through, and especially towards the end, the narrator is musing on fate and destiny, and looking for meaning in all this - as is the reader.
Had Murakami tied it all together with some ghastly homily, I think it would have ruined the book. After all, a recurring line is " What was that all about? In more detail: view spoiler [ Yumi and then the narrator accidentally and separately find themselves in a parallel world, in the Old Dolphin Hotel, where they meet the old owner, who the narrator nicknames Sheep Man because of all the pictures and books about sheep.
He resisted selling up, and only gave in on condition the new hotel retained the name. He tells the narrator "Thisisyourplace. Thisisyourworld" and that he Sheep Man works hard "Tokeepthings - fromfalllingapart. Through Yumi, the narrator gets to know Yuki, whose flighty photographer mother had left behind at the hotel to travel abroad! He took back to her home in Tokyo and keeps a mostly paternal eye on her. Even her parents think so, as they each separately get him to take more charge of her.
Yuki has also seen Sheep Man, though by some sort of mental connection to the narrator, rather than going through the portal. Gotunda calls the agency to get a couple of girls for him and the narrator. The latter has Mei, who he quizzes about the missing Kiki, but she knows nothing useful.
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BAILA, BAILA. BAILA
Baila, baila, baila – Haruki Murakami
Baila, Baila, Baila