I have lots to say now but first foremost I wanna screech loud at HARUKI 'I AM TRYING TO MEET OPRAH' MURAKAMI. I bought an audiobook of his recent 2nd-to-newest novel KAFKA ON THE SHORE for something to listen to on my drive, having read several other of his novels and liked them mostly w/o remembering why even right after I was done. The first 5 discs out of 15 in the set got me super-amped on the story. He had it so right. Several very compelling vaguely related setups all converging with this weird energy. Children fainting in masses, a woman bleeding out of her vagina after seeing some shape in the sky, a guy who can talk to cats and make leeches fall as rain, a kid living in a room in a library, other strangeness.
By disc 10 though, while driving home from Baltimore (more on that later), I was punching the dash and screaming obscenity at HARUKI MURAKAMI for absolutely blowing the dick off what could have been an incredible novel.
Around the halfway point in the book, he'd pretty much reverted to scenes of long discussion between the major characters, discussing psychological and philososophical ramifications of what had happened in the first third of the book. Long 'emotional' conversations rehashing thought on things that'd happened, who felt what about who, soap opera soap opera. Scenes with little to no development, no interest, just babbling on and on about what it means, what it could be, saying the same thing over and over in endless uninteresting ways, totally Oprah-izing the fucker. I swear, I literally could not believe how shitty the book turned into, how completely amateur and stunted and warmed over to the point of making me literally almost swerve into a truck carrying other cars because I was screaming at each line, asking why the line was there, why the fuck he couldn't stop saying the same thing over and over, using lines like 'Everybody is in a dream, aren't they?' and talking about the subtleties of Truffaut and how it relates to some jazz band, trying to draw thematic overtones and ending up just sounding like a jerk, all in the midst of what could have been a creepy, fucked story. I couldn't even finish it.
Every strand of the story that had power and image behind it was explained away, tied up with bows, placed on the reader's lap and then discussed what it meant. Fuck, HARUKI MURAKAMI, do you think all of your readers are absolute dogshit morons? Can we have any thread left to puzzle on our own? I have no idea why certain authors feel the need to explain to death the why and how of any mysterious elements in their storylines, though this happens most with prominent figures. Perhaps that's why their books sell. People don't like to not know. I don't like to know, or at least leave some of it undone! Otherwise the work has no purpose being a book.
HARUKI MURAKAMI is the new M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN.
KAFKA ON THE SHORE also is a great example of how pop culture references in fiction can take away from the story. I was cringing all through this thing. Mainly it was his references to music. Really, if all you know about is Bob Dylan and the Beatles, don't bother to name names of what your character listens to. No one cares. Murakami would talk about how the main character would put on Prince while he worked out. He'd listen to the White Album. There are ways that could work, even with obvious references, but here it just sounded like an insertion. A name drop for no other purpose than to name drop, though names that couldn't be more bland or overused. It added absolutely nothing, it involved no aura, it only made me groan and know that the author has a very limited understanding of modern music.
Someone could take this book and edit 75% of it out, using only the declarative sentences and no conversations, using only the scenes without all the surrounding description and resolution, and it would be 50 times better.
Shit, I might do that. Blacked out copies of KAFKA ON THE SHORE. But then I'd have to buy the shitty motherfucker.