“Killing Commendatore”

Having read – and loved – just about everything Haruki Murakami has written, I think I’m allowed to say that “Killing Commendatore” just isn’t up to his usual standard. My anticipation for reading this monster of a book was right up there; I had hoped – based on size alone – for something as enthralling as “1Q84”, but sadly not…

And why? Pace; that’s the first thing that struck me. It’s unusually slow and ponderous; it’s also quite repetitive and, if I’m honest, a little self-indulgent too. Not enough happens. If what did happen, happened in half the time then we might be getting somewhere. The first five-hundred pages or so are really ponderous, and then when the pace does pick up – and the surreal kicks in – neither the pace nor the supernatural story-line are credible and engaging. Unlike so much of Murakami’s previous work.

Also, in places the writing seems very ‘clunky’. The occasional Americanisms and slang really grate too; they are simply out of place. When I first noticed this I saw that there are two translators from the Japanese. How does that work in terms of uniformity of style? Indeed, there are parts of the book that appear to be written by different people.

Perhaps it was.

If you are inclined to read Murakami – please do! – then don’t start with this one…