MixedThe MillionsIt’s a promising set-up, which makes it all the more disappointing that over the course of 180 pages, it does not really go anywhere. The premise, and the small points of action which occur in turn, are used mainly as jumping off points from which the characters recall moments from the past, their own idiosyncrasies, former lovers, and remaindered sensations of childhood ... The problem is not that the digressions are poorly written or awkwardly conceived. In fact, they are often quite imaginative and authentic, standing solidly on their own as the peculiar ways in which a life might have been lived ... Dovey’s digressions about each tradesman at work are knowing and confident ... While the component parts are good, they don’t build together, so that by the end of the book, our understanding of the characters compares with the advancement of the plot; they both lie more or less in the same place we began.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorColorless Tsukuru Tasaki features an erotic dream sequence that blurs the boundaries with real life, and a strange, allegorical story about a virtuosic jazz pianist playing his last tune. Other than that, though, the events in the book are, in very un-Murakami-like fashion, pretty much as they appear ... One of the most powerful things about his fiction is the way he depicts life in an elemental way – as an epic, if personal, quest, to resolve universal issues of memory, childhood, and human connection. To see him covering the much less grand terrain of near middle age is startling... In Murakami’s hands this is usually a powerful approach ...overall the novel shows the limitations of Murakami’s style at its extremes. His best writing settles over you like fog, but Colorless Tsukuru is so indeterminate, so light of being, that it ends up feeling like there isn’t much there at all.
Haruki Murakami, trans. Jay Rubin & Philip Gabriel
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorMurakami likes to blur the boundaries of reality, and in this sense 1Q84 is his most intricate work. The novel alternates between Tengo’s and Aomame’s stories and as the plot progresses, events draw the two of them together. Yet throughout the novel the line between 1984 and 1Q84, and between Aomame’s story and the fictionalized story of Air Chrysalis remains ambiguous, making it unclear whether it’s even possible for the two characters to meet … In 1Q84 Murakami makes several direct statements about the nature and methods of fiction, which begin to explain why he chooses to layer worlds on top of each other (and also add to the sense that 1Q84 is intended as the definitive work of the author’s career).