Most of all in his short fiction, I can never quite tell how seriously to take Haruki Murakami’s writing, but at the same time I am compelled by it. The lack of seriousness I feel (and I don’t mean in the writing itself, because I do think he takes himself seriously, and in an appropriate way) is that so many of the stories are almost exactly alike the other stories. If you took the names off and took the plots away a little, would you be able to tell many of his characters apart? I am not sure. In addition, so many of the situations we find here: a man, alone, becomes fascinated with a woman because _______, they’re very similar. So there’s also this consistency in his writing. It’s almost like a Goldberg Variations kind of thing. That said, the voice is so so so very compelling. There’s an earnestness to these characters that I appreciate, and given the how male characters are not really allowed to have feelings that get processes particularly healthily, it’s nice to at least nice to see them portrayed here with seriousness and respect. Not all those feelings are healthy though, like your feelings, so while I find criticisms of Murakami’s writing to be more or less technically correct, I also appreciate that he doesn’t seem to care about it. He’s going to write what he’s going to write.