I did not like this. There must be something wrong with me because everyone and their sister loves Murakami. I did not.
Firstly, his voice annoys me to no end. I cannot explain why, but it’s just not natural, it sounds forced. Then, this is set in Japan but there are references to the West every two seconds, be it music, movies, baseball teams, etc, etc. I know this happens everywhere (us, Portuguese, also obsess over the USA) but it wasn’t done in the way that it seems plausible. It’s as if the author is going all ‘oh, I’m so hip, I know about American things!’. Yeah, no.
Then, I hated the characters. Hated, hated, hated. Mari is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with no appeal or quirk whatsoever. She is flat and I’ve seen her about 2835893253 times before. I didn’t care about any of the characters. I wasn’t invested in them. They were so flat.
The businessman plot was forgotten, and it was the most interesting thing going on, and that made me mad. The whole magical realism thing confused me. I could see the little plot holes expanding everywhere.
This is a shame, because I was looking forward to finally reading some Murakami. Was this a wrong book to introduce me to his writing? I feel like I should give him another chance, but I won’t.
Read from March 15th to 18th, 2011.
EDIT: After being informed by a reader that Murakami himself was surrounded by American culture and whatnot for the better part of his life, I now understand that it was a bit unfair of me to judge his writing on those grounds. All other opinions on the novel still remain valid.