CBR10Bingo – White Whale
I listened to the first disk of this walking around a new town I moved to about 6 years ago and I remember this event so well that the first two or three chapters of this book were incredibly familiar to me. I stopped listening because at 38 disks ripped off of a library copy of the audiobook, there was bound to be a few errors and there were.
So this time, I went ahead and just read the book. It’s probably the fastest 1200 (ish) pages I’ve ever read.
Murakami’s style is relatively simple or maybe deceptively simple. I know that he began his career by writing in English and then translating into Japanese, and I bet this informs his current style, but probably no longer represents it.
This novel is more or less a culmination of a lot of his career. It’s no longer the day to day life details of a set number of characters in fine detail as the story roles around them and becomes more and more developed, as is especially the case in The Windup Bird Chronicles. Instead, this novel jumps right into the narrative and we are in the middle of intrigue in the first two chapters. It takes two chapters because the narrative mostly splits between two different narrative perspectives Tengo and Aomame. As the novel develops it becomes clear that the two narrators are sharing a lot of the same narrative spaces, the same story, and eventually the same world.
This is a strange novel, and like a lot of Murakami, there’s some uncomfortable sexuality and focus on the bodies of women, but it’s also a very interesting novel.
It’s almost like the inverse of a fantasy novel, where we’re thrown in the middle of things, and they become clear by the time the novel ends, but the major mysteries of the novel remain so.