15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Take a deep breath, forget about the Wind-Up Bird, proceed
, February 15, 2005
Disclaimer: I love Murakami and have read every novel he's written outside of "Pinball."
That said, I found "Kafka" his least impressive work by a wide margin. Some of this, I am convinced, is due to the translation, which is not only uninspired but in many places downright sloppy. There's far too much "says-ing", "was-ing" and general verbal passivitiy in the book. (At this point I think it's only fair to give some credit for the sheer magic and lyric power of 'Wind-Up Bird' to Jay Rubin, who somehow seems to translate a different Murakami than either Gabriel or Birnbaum.)
As for the work itself...I don't know. I see that a lot of people really enjoyed it. I found the philosophy boring, the plot plodding, and the characters very poorly sketched. In the way that a true Gus Van Zandt fanatic can derive pleasure from watching "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," I enjoyed reading this book, but it did not have anywhere near the same kind of effect on me as his others have. I felt like I was struggling to hear the voice of the writer I know and love beneath a screeching jumble of white noise.