Try as I might, I still can’t work out this book. I finished it a week or more ago and it still doesn’t make all that much sense to me. With that said and the litany of reviews out there concerning it, I’m going to make this review fairly short.
The plots starts out strangely, in true Murakami style, with the protagonist, Okada, searching for his missing cat. This in itself isn’t that strange, but soon after he receives a call from a woman who apparently wants phone sex. He hangs up, but she continues to call and even at this point, having read the whole book, I fail to see the reasoning behind it. Perhaps it was simply done to set the tone. Who knows when it comes to Murakami?
After this point things get odder and all the while, Okada is searching for his missing cat. From the outset we learn that he’s inextricably tied up with his wife’s brother, a dark ominous figure who continues to make his presence known throughout.
I really don’t know what to say about this. I’m wracking my brains here but I keep coming up empty. I found the experience of reading another otherworldly offering from Murakami a bit like the time I read Kafka on the Shore. It was largely about reality and was set in a place where two very different types of reality met. It was about disconnection and trying to reconnect. It also had the theme of war running throughout it. The war had little relevance to Okada, but the host of characters he met were in some way connected with it. It served to highlight how we all live in a very different reality to one another and the struggle we face when we try to connect those two.
Largely relationships were used to highlight an ever-increasing divide between each other. Be it from the strange relationships that were made, or the ones that fell apart i.e. Okada and his wife.
I’m not going to bother trying to wrack my brains any further to find the hidden meaning. It just didn’t work for me. Existential stuff is great on the surface, but it always falls flat for me. If you like all that magical realism stuff, though, I’m sure you’d love this. I just happen to like my books to reflect the real world a little more. I did like it, I just didn’t love it.