I can see why people might like Murakami and get hooked into his stories. The book builds up curiosity, trying to understand why Tsukuru’s friends cut ties with him. The style of the story builds on the suspense, blurring the line between reality and dreams until you’re not quite sure what has actually happened and if whether or not it matters in the face of a character’s personal development, thoughts and feelings.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much payoff for all of that suspense. There were unnecessary details about things which felt like they were meant to be important to the story but at the end of the day, weren’t. Why Tsukuru even mentions some of the stories and bits of information he learns is a mystery to me since they didn’t add to the story in any way other than making it more blurry – which usually I wouldn’t have minded because it adds to the style, but in this case I did mind because I wanted answers due to the plot set up, and I didn’t get them. Say what you will about the eccentricities of a blurry story, I think when something is so plot-focused you need solid resolutions.
Aside from the plot, I found the descriptions too were making me skim over lines quickly. Other than Tsukuru’s initial description of his depression, I really stopped feeling for him and his continual woe of not having a colour and feeling like he was an ’empty vessel’. Even when small things are revealed, such as why the characters claim they cut ties, there are further mysteries related to the incident around it and the incident itself felt like a cop out as I am personally not a fan of fiction that uses *spoiler alert* rape as a critical explainer of a story and its characters’ behaviours and decisions. I think if you use such an incident it has to be done well so that it doesn’t feel like you were simply searching for the most cruel thing you could think of to happen to a character.
So yeah, I don’t know if his other novels are like this, but I found this one incoherent and was, in the end, a waste of time. Alas, onwards and upwards.