Book Review: Kafka on the shore

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Kafka on the ShoreKafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As always, reading Murakami is like entering a dream-state that you don’t really want to get out of. Don’t try too hard making sense of everything, they won’t. Just enjoy the narration, and you’ll get through the book in one piece, finding some characters not just amusing, but also comforting.

Murakami seems to be preoccupied with having his characters having sex with older women. The bizarre point in this book for me is that the character considered the girl as his sister, and then still being portrayed as being unable to NOT have sex with her. This got me wondering about the nature and culture of sex in Japan regarding the norm of the “courting” ritual.

A nice review is available via google search, written by David Mitchell… (he referred to the promiscuity of the teenage Kafka as the imagination of how middle age male writers would have wished to be when they’re younger).

Three stars will have to do. It’s still a reading pleasure though. I particularly love the description of the library, its intimacy the book managed to portray.



Book Review: Norwegian Wood

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh. My. God. I almost missed the bus today because I waited on the side of the street while reading this book! The bus driver nicely stopped, although I was completely oblivious of my sorroundings (I was in the hill of Kyoto -somewhere in the middle of the book).

Finally done with this “easy” contemporary novel. Some analysis I read afterwards discuss the symbolism and relevance of each and every little details. As for me, I’m happy to get something out of this novels.

One sure thing: he’s not a lazy author. His descriptions are not lazy although rather devoid of feelings.

I find the constant pre-occupation with death and sex prompting me to wonder whether this captures the reality of that time and place. However, at the end of the day, it’s a character’s story. It doesn’t matter how many people relate to it, the work deserves existence for being itself.


Book Review: Into the wild

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Into the WildInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s all going well, until, the writer decided that HIS OWN life story should have two chapters in the book. I’m sorry, I don’t care about Jon Krakauer. I only want to read about McCandless. Please don’t just paste your own story into a book which is mainly about someone else much more fascinating than yourself.

I can’t forgive you for this Jon Krakauer.

But anyway. I didn’t really pay much attention to the book nor the movie in the beginning. I put off watching them until few friends literally sat me down and forced me to watch the movie. Nothing against nature and all that, I just don’t like to watch a movie character for 2 hours and watch him die in the end.

But the movie got me interested in reading the book. So I ordered my copy of this book. I sensed the depth of his character and his personal struggle. I feel for this guy. And to be honest, I can’t help comparing him with Soe Hok Gie , an Indonesian activist with similar strength in holding on to his own principles, the same spirituality they found in nature, and unfortunately, the same lifeline.

So, 4 stars. Had it not been for the ridiculous blunder by Krakauer I would have given it a 5 star just for the life story.


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