10 months ago
The success of Murakami as an author, as has been repeated ad nauseum, is his ability to locate the strangeness in the mundane, ferreting out holes in the fabric of perceived reality and picking at them, enlarging them until they’ve opened onto new vantage points. Many odd things happen in Murakami novels, but their protagonists generally absorb these strange turns with unfazed acceptance or mild curiosity. Looking back now on the apparent simplicity of Norwegian Wood, produced before the codification of the Murakami brand feels instructive. The massively ambitious, wantonly bizarre 1Q84, by its author’s own admission, was an attempt at summation: his Brothers Karamazov. His editors should have talked him down (even Dostoevsky’s shorter masterpiece Demons could have benefited from some judicious snipping in its first section); the book’s bloat gradually overwhelms the flashes of pleasing strangeness that made Murakami an international novelist in the first place. When one arrives at the conclusion to find that 950 pages of words were expended on an attempt to merge Norwegian Wood’s puppy love-with-complications and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’s this-is-Japan statement-making, it’s hard not to feel let down. (via Reverse Shot)

The success of Murakami as an author, as has been repeated ad nauseum, is his ability to locate the strangeness in the mundane, ferreting out holes in the fabric of perceived reality and picking at them, enlarging them until they’ve opened onto new vantage points. Many odd things happen in Murakami novels, but their protagonists generally absorb these strange turns with unfazed acceptance or mild curiosity. Looking back now on the apparent simplicity of Norwegian Wood, produced before the codification of the Murakami brand feels instructive. The massively ambitious, wantonly bizarre 1Q84, by its author’s own admission, was an attempt at summation: his Brothers Karamazov. His editors should have talked him down (even Dostoevsky’s shorter masterpiece Demons could have benefited from some judicious snipping in its first section); the book’s bloat gradually overwhelms the flashes of pleasing strangeness that made Murakami an international novelist in the first place. When one arrives at the conclusion to find that 950 pages of words were expended on an attempt to merge Norwegian Wood’s puppy love-with-complications and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’s this-is-Japan statement-making, it’s hard not to feel let down. (via Reverse Shot)

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