If you asked Bob Dylan what this book was about, he’d probably say, “About 1150 pages.” I’m not sure I can do much better than that. There are a lot of twos – characters, images, symbols, worlds, etc.. There is some exploration of reality, of creativity, of a notion of God. Is it, in the end, a love story? I’m not sure. Is there more coming? Some imagery suggests that there may be more to the story. With just a handful of characters, Murakami has created what I expect will be his epic masterpiece. The story (and the story within the story. . . and the story within the story within the story) are still vivid for me as are the characters.
I still wonder both about Murakami’s physical descriptions of women and sex as well as his translators. Some passages (particularly dialogue and interior thoughts) can seem wooden. And I admit I longed for just one character who would give a straight answer. I admired the way Murakami made some of the unlikable characters sympathetic and allowed others to just walk off stage with no clear ending.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the time 1157 pages takes, I would say it is. It’s well-paced and the grand scale allows Murakami to develop his trademark oddness rather than just spring it on you.