Hallo, its review time. This time for Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, which gives a very surprising result I think, so stick around and give it a read.
As you know, Haruki Murakami is my favourite author and I have finally finished Killing Commendatore. I definitely enjoyed the book as the atmosphere and characters were stylistically similar to Murakami’s other novels which I am always here for. The plot was quite different from his other works that I have read and it is thematically different which was refreshing. The way that the unnamed protagonist would describe and analyse his surroundings as if it were his works of art was very fascinating and actually inspired me to want to experience art and everyday life from this perspective, this became one of the most interesting aspects of the novel.
The main character was probably my favourite part of the novel as Murakami presented him in a very Freudian sense, delving into his childhood and trauma which influences his attraction and difficulties in adult life. However, this aspect could become rather awkward and uncomfortable for the reader but as someone who has read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov it really wasn’t that difficult to read overall. With this in mind though, I think that some of the allusions were unnecessary to the plot, for instance, the recurring discussion of Mariye’s breasts developing and her own obsession with them felt irrelevant to the more mystical and pressing matters that the narrator was experiencing. This was one of my first gripes with the novel, but a more important problem developed which I will now elaborate on.
The main problem I had with Killing Commendatore was the fact that it was 700 odd pages long. I don’t find reading that length of a book too troubling, but when much of the protagonist’s inner dialogue, trauma and issues are relayed to the reader again and again and again with little variation it can become a little tedious. So, getting to the end without feeling a little tired is pretty unavoidable and you feel as if a lot of this cushioning could have been removed, but who am I to judge, perhaps everything had its own vital value. I wouldn’t want to make excuses but I think this is why it took me so long to get through the novel. It disappoints me a little because there were many stunning pieces of imagery and writing which are characteristic of Murakami but it was so stuffed with repeated lines that it was difficult to keep this streak.
I’m not disheartened by Killing Commendatore because as I said I did enjoy it, just not as much as I had the other books by him, but I suppose the rest of his repertoire has to live up to me making Norwegian Wood my all-time favourite. My next read by Murakami is going to be 1Q84 part 3 because I am absolutely buzzing to get back into the world of Tengo and Aomame!