Since I bought the paperback version (and it’s sold as three books in Japan), I’m allowing myself a post about Part I. Short answer: I love it!

After reading The Elephant Vanishes, I became addicted to Murakami. Eventually, all of the talking cats and spaghetti got to me, and I had to take a break. Reading a Murakami book can be an intense (and strange) experience.

But this epic format allows him more room to move. The oddities creep in slowly, and the focus here is on character development. Part I has set the stage. I’m eager for Part II.

I’m looking forward to when Murakami gets translated again. There are parts that seem clunky, especially the dialogue; there are other passages that are wonderful. A few —

“That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.”

“All I can do is live the life I have.”

“Violence does not always take visible form, and not all wounds gush blood.”

And, I admit, Murakami’s digressions about sex seem longer and more explicit than necessary and definitely provide a few wince-worthy moments.