For Murakami, the process of thinking is what matters, and in this collection of seven stories Murakami wants us to consider the paradoxical interrelatedness of love and loneliness, specifically, how certain men become 'Men Without Women' ... Time and again in these seven stories, Murakami displays his singular genius...when he manages to find a concrete image for human emotion ... The stories in this collection find their power within the confines of common but momentous disturbances that linger on in memory.
Many of the stories hover between realism and surreal dreamscape. And Murakami’s voice — cool, poised, witty, characterized by a peculiar blend of whimsy and poignancy, wit and profundity — hasn’t lost its power to unsettle even as it amuses ... Even the married men exist in their own private bubbles of disquiet and despair. Deep isolation pervades each story ... The men of these stories are trying to have it both ways. It is not surprising therefore that they find themselves caught in the middle of nowhere. Murakami’s imagination is the luminous half-light of that common, contradictory country.
The melancholy soufflé Murakami whips up in these pages is decidedly masculine, a rainy Tokyo of unfaithful women, neat single malt, stray cats, cool cars and classic jazz played on hi-fi setup ... Like such philosophically head-scratching aphorisms, these stories — part allegory, part myth, part magic realism, part Philip Marlowe, private eye — are sometimes confusing even to those who narrate them ... [a] slim but beguilingly irresistible book. Like a lost lover, it holds on tight long after the affair is over.