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Killing Commendatore: A novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 736 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“Some novelists hold a mirror up to the world and some, like Haruki Murakami, use the mirror as a portal to a universe hidden beyond it.” —The Wall Street Journal
“[Murakami] is as masterful as ever.” —Houston Chronicle
“A spellbinding parable of art, history, and human loneliness.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“The product of a singular imagination.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Expansive and intricate.” —The New York Times
“Beguiling. . . . Murakami is brilliant.” —The Guardian
“Dazzling. . . . [Murakami] reveals how an artist sees the world.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[A] sprawling, uncanny epic. . . . A time-traveling tale of loss, longing, and the creation of art—with an ample dash of Murakami’s trademark deadpan humor.” —Vanity Fair
“A perfect balance of tradition and individual talent. . . . Murakami dancing along ‘the inky blackness of the Path of Metaphor’ is like Fred Astaire dancing across a floor, then up the walls and onto the ceiling.” —The Spectator
“A surreal, world-altering epic punctuated by art, literature and history.” —Time
“[Murakami] once more explicates the seemingly impossible with such thorough, exacting conviction to make believers of us all.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“No other author mixes domestic, fantastic and esoteric elements into such weirdly bewitching shades. . . . Just as [Murakami] straddles barriers dividing high art from mass entertainment, so he suspends borders between east and west.” —Financial Times
“[Killing Commendatore] marks the return of a master.” —Esquire
“The complex landscape that Murakami assembles in Killing Commendatore is a word portrait of the artist’s inner life.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“Fascinating. . . . Drawing on Buddhist spiritualism, metaphysics and magical realism—not to mention Lewis Carroll—Killing Commendatore finds its narrator enmeshed in a singular philosophic adventure.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Murakami beautifully captures the evanescence of inspiration.” —Vulture
“Its size, beauty, and concerns with lust and war bring us back to the vividness and scale of [Murakami’s] 1997 epic, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.’’ —The Boston Globe
“Lovely and strange.” —Bustle
“Wild, thrilling. . . . Murakami is a master storyteller and he knows how to keep us hooked. . . . What makes his voice so distinctive, and so captivating, is the mix of precise observation, clarity and deadpan humour.” —The Sunday Times (London)
About the Author
- File Size : 3414 KB
- Publication Date : October 9, 2018
- Print Length : 736 pages
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint Edition (October 9, 2018)
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B079WM2HMV
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #37,185 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Did Murakami usually have an editor to keep him in check, to clean it up? It almost seems as if, since the author has arrived, over and over again, that he wanted other hands off his text, or perhaps he was experimenting. But who would experiment with cumbersome prose and bland details? The voice sounded juvenile at times and the plot was buckling under its own lack of subtlety. And, instead of trusting the reader to read between the lines and pick up on suggestion, he habitually jabs us with over-explication and declarations. By the time I was 25% through the novel, I wanted to heave it across the room. It was sagging under its own weight.
As an example, the narrator, a portrait painter, talks about why he was attracted to his wife, a secret he never revealed to her. He goes on to say that she wasn’t outstandingly attractive, but rather resembled his dead sister, especially her eyes. There was something hackneyed, unoriginal about it. “…the fact that her eyes reminded me so much of my sister who’d died at twelve…Without those eyes, I probably never would have tried to win her over…That was the sole secret I kept from her…”
There are other details that, for me, landed with a thud. Part of it was presentation—a rather flavorless buffet of many “secrets” and anecdotal information I felt I’d heard before. The style was tedious and monotonous. I would have been engaged more if the fictional world and characters blended together more seamlessly, if the sentence structure had some flair. How narrative and description are invented is integral to reader absorption. I suppose my expectations were high, as Murakami had been known for his unique and imaginative language to build his stories. For me, KILLING COMMENATORE—and what a great title, that refers to a hidden painting—it lacked the author’s talent for atmosphere and tone, and I found it too cloying and overexposed, for lack of a better word. The painting idea had muscle, but the telling is where it atrophied for me.
If I missed something, or readers heartily disagree with me, I understand. I don’t relish posting a two-star review, but Murakami is no debut writer. Someone of his stature can handle criticism –it’s the fans I am concerned with. I am a dedicated fan, also, and appreciate that not every book is a winner. There are so many earlier books that are top tier, such as THE WINDUP BIRD CHRONICLE, or KAFKA ON THE SHORE, or A WILD SHEEP CHASE, and of course HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND. Choose any of those or many others for a wild and intoxicating ride.
Of the story itself, I will not say too much; in part to avoid spoilers, and in part because trying to summarize Murakami’s works are a near-impossible exercise. Yes, the “tl;dr” of this book would be “Artist separated from wife paints portraits, encounters odd situations, gets back with wife” (don’t worry, I’m not revealing anything the reader isn’t told within the first couple of pages). I can even tell you that the book is about ideas, metaphors, and history (both shared and personal histories and experiences) ... as well as a fixation with a young girl's breasts that quickly becomes uncomfortable for the reader. But, that doesn’t tell you what the book is *about*—for that, you need to read it yourself, of course.
Where does this book rank in the pantheon of Murakami works? This is, of course, a very subjective question; as someone who tends to favor Murakami’s earlier works such as Hardboiled Wonderland over later works such as Kafka and 1Q84, my opinion might not align with yours. However, for me, this was a nicely crafted tale, easily the most *complete* Murakami novel. As much as I love Murakami’s work, I have been frustrated in the past by his novels that leave too many story lines unraveled, too many questions unaddressed, and the book just ending without fanfare. This is not to say that there are no unresolved story lines in Killing Commendatore (for instance, I’m still haunted by the prologue of all things—once you finish the novel, go back and re-read the very beginning and think about the questions it raises). However, Murakami provides a surprising amount of closure in the last few chapters, and while he doesn’t provide The Answers, he does provide enough detail to at least figure out what *questions* the reader should be asking.
That said, while I was spell-bound much of the time, there were sections where the book dragged (compared to a work such as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, not that much ‘happens’—a couple hundred pages probably could’ve been chopped from this book and would not have been missed), some of the characters did not quite live up to their promise (I kept waiting for a little bit more substance where characters such as Menshiki, Mariye, and the Man with the White Subaru are concerned, but I did love Commendatore—even if it’s hard not to compare him to the Sheep Man from A Wild Sheep Chase), and while the plot was pretty well explained (for a Murakami novel), I kept waiting for a little bit more of a twist (many events were a bit predictable for an old Murakami hand), or a clearer picture of what were the consequences or importance of certain seemingly-portentous events (especially toward the end), or just something new, exciting, and surprising—as an artist, Murakami is as confident and polished in his brushstrokes as ever … but it feels like Killing Commendatore traces elegantly and masterfully over a canvas he has already worked on many times before. I admit, the more time that goes by since finishing this novel (confession: I read the original novel when it came out in 2017, so I've had a year and a half to think about it), the more my enthusiasm wanes—I worry that my initial excitement was due to relief that Murakami ‘landed the plane’ more so than enthusiasm about the flight itself. Killing Commendatore feels like a consummation of Murakami’s work to this point, but I’d love to see him break new ground and go in new directions in his next novel.
Even in being able to identify all the repetition (which also comes with knowing an author by reading so much work you understand how they write/can anticipate their moves), I think the book was really great. Always moving and enchanting. You know what you’re in for.
Top reviews from other countries
ps. I collect Murakami hardcovers and this one did not disappoint. It’s a gorgeous looking book, if a little tough to read lying down, due to its size, but I just can’t get into Murakami stories in ebook format for some reason..
it's a different kind of narrative, the magical elements subtly dropped in, and as with his best works, a journey. one where the un-named protagonist goes a long way before he can go a short way, and then another way altogether! my friends also make reference to the inclusion of repetitive elements such as cooking, classical music, cats (to be fair the cat appears very late in the story), but if it's what you know and what you're interested in, what's the problem? - it adds to the feeling of belonging the reader experiences and the writer generates!
the actual story is detailed well enough in my friends' reviews, i don't feel a need to add anything other than that murakami continues to create fiction that is unique, haunting, creative, compelling and you need to get a read of this!
What there is is a strange world, associated with a strange painting, and other unfinished art works - and there there are lots of loose ends by the end of the nearly 700 pages - lots of unfinished story lines. The book touches on ideas and metaphors. The ideas don't quite last, and the metaphors can be dangerous - and i'm still trying to decide if the book is a metaphor - and if so for what - the general aimlessness of life, the strange help that we seem to receive when we most need it? I don't know, but I do know i found the book a little aimless, and strangely unconcluded .
Not for me one of Murakami's best - and I have read them all and loved most of them, but it is still enjoyable and in parts page turningly compulsive
Then there's the content. Whether pressured by the publisher to put out another "hit" book, or an author simply resting on his laurels, Killing Commendatore contains every overly-familiar Murakami trope, but with none of the magic of I484 or Kafka on the Shore, nor any of the intellect of Norwegian Wood or Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki.
The pace is achingly slow (to go with the weight of the book) and it takes such a long time for anything remotely curious to happen, you're left wondering if anything will even happen at all. My final complaint is with regards to the translation itself, which has been left littered with American spellings and grammar.
Although it has its moments of potential, Killing Commendatore feels more like an unsuccessful Murakami clone. A drab and frustrating read; very disappointing.