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Rubaiyats of Lote-Tree

Norwegian Wood, Hard-Bolied Wonderland and the End of the World Dissapointments

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Finally got round to reading "The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World"
and the "Norwegian Wood" by the Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami.

And what a dissapointment it was on both books!

"Norwegian Wood" started well and then went downhill! the end I did not care for any of the characters except one!

The "Hard-Boiled Wonderland..." again I had no connection with the characters. Only thing that kept me going in this book was the desire to know the ending because there were many ways that book could have ended....

My taking up reading again...has been a dissapointment so far.


  1. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    Sorry to hear it Lote. Hope you can find a better book. I'll admit that I have read nothing but great books lately. I have been very lucky. Just got to find the right one, and there are so many.

    I have heard good things about Norwegian Wood, too bad.
  2. Virgil's Avatar
    Lote, earlier this year I read what is supposed to be Murakami's best novel, Kafka On The Shore. I was definitely not impressed. Except for a couple of interesting scenes, I thought the novel was mediocre at best, and actually poor when you consider the how uninteresting the central character was. I became more interested in the minor characters than the central character. Add to that a sort of ludicrous and childish plot. This is the only Murakami I have ever read and it could very well be the only, especially given your review.
  3. TheFifthElement's Avatar
    Interesting, Lote. I loved Hard-Boiled Wonderland. At its heart, it's rather like Kafka's The Castle, and the duality of realities were interesting. Particularly the 'End of the World' and the question it poses about life, and death. But if you feel you need to connect with the characters then Japanese fiction is not for you. It's probably a cultural thing, but I've found that in Japanese fiction the characters are not necessarily sympathetic or likeable, but in a bizarre way that's what I like about it. It's somehow more real, or perhaps less of a con. I like Japanese movies for that too.

    Norwegian Wood I can take or leave. It's a subtle novel. I'd like to read it again, see if it means more second time around.

    Virgil, I wouldn't say Kafka on the Shore is Murakami's 'best' work. Perhaps his most well known. But The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is probably his best work, although he is still writing and it may be that something like 1Q84 becomes his 'best' work. It's hard to judge just yet. I wouldn't dismiss him as a writer so easily. There's a lot of depth to his work, but he is at root a Japanese writer (although he adopts a more western style) so bear that in mind. The Japanese style is not the western style. I guess maybe you like it or you don't. I do. I guess that makes me lucky
    Updated 08-11-2011 at 05:26 PM by TheFifthElement
  4. TheFifthElement's Avatar
    By the way, have you not been reading? That sucks. Like jersea, I've been pretty lucky with books recently. Try Lost Paradise by Cees Nooteboom. It's an ace book. Can't recommend it enough (even Virgil liked it )
  5. Virgil's Avatar
    Oh I highly recommend Lost Paradise. Outstanding work.

    Fifth, right after I read Kafka on the Shore, I decided to try another Japanese novel. I couldn't remember who else you recommended, so I looked up Japanese novels and Shusaku Endo caught my eye, and in particular his novel called Silence. He is a rare Japanese Roman Catholic and so I was curious. It's a magnificent novel, outstanding. I think I saw somewhere Graham Greene called it the best Catholic novel written. That's a pretty good endorsement. It was very good, I highly recommend it, though you may need to be Catholic to fully grasp it. It's also a historical novel. I needed to get some background history before it started to sink in. Here's a wikipedia entry on it:
  6. TheFifthElement's Avatar
    Thanks Virgil. I have Silence, just haven't got around to reading it yet. I've heard it's an excellent book. If you're looking to read another Japanese author you might want to try Yasunari Kawabata (I recommend Beauty and Sadness), or Soseki Natsume, probably Kokoro. Or as a one off, very intense read Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse which gives a survivor's account of the Hiroshima bombing. Very non-judgemental, but quite chilling. I've also heard that Yukio Mishima is very good, but haven't quite yet got around to reading his work yet. So much to read, so little time eh?