I’m torn about this novel. Despite my last post about it, I did enjoy reading it. Nothing about it is too difficult to get through. There is enough intrigue to hold one’s attention. But I’m telling you the last third of the book was underwhelming.
Here is a story about Tengo and Aomame, a math teacher who wants to be a writer and a personal trainer and sometime assassin. The novel is divided into three books, and each chapter alternates with their narrative. I spent Book 1 wondering how the two related to one another and whether the two stories were taking place at the same time. In drips and drabs those answers were revealed, and the rest of the novel was spent wondering how they would eventually reunite.
The big problem came towards the end of Book 2 when Aomame is sent to kill the head of a cult. The subtlety of the story was dispensed, and we were given a lot of information at once. In a ten-page span all the answers were given, and the joy and thrill of discovering these little bits of plot vanished. Just like that.
The last book was spent wondering how Aomame and Tengo were eventually going to reunite, and that was interesting in and of itself, but that big deluge in Book 2 made everything that came after it so unfulfilling.
It was lazy, plain and simple.
Another problem that kept nagging at me throughout the novel is one that often tugs at me when reading a translation. Early on my acupuncturist asked me how I was enjoying the book, and I told her that I really liked it. She said that she loved the way Murakami wrote, and that gave me pause. Since I’m reading a translation, how much of Murakami was I actually reading? The subtlety of the language, was that Murakami’s doing or the translator? How well can we trust the translators?
Those are questions I can’t answer definitively without reading the novel in its original Japanese form.
Despite this, I really did like the book.