“Hoshino looked up from his map again and gazed into Nakata’s eyes. He frowned, looked at the sign, and slowly read it again. He patted a Marlboro out from the box, put it between his lips, and lit it with his plastic lighter. He slowly inhaled, then blew smoke out the open window. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, this is it.”
“Chance is a scary thing, isn’t it?”
“It certainly is,” Nakata agreed." (Page 137-138)
I’ve never read anything by Haruki Murakami before, but I was eager to because he’s a Japanese author and the original book was written in that language. I really enjoyed the small glimpses of day-to-day Japanese life that the book offers.
But the plot was uneven and quirky. Even now, days after finishing the book, I don’t know what to make of it. This is simply one of the oddest books I’ve ever read.
The author does a great job of developing the characters and injecting a sense of mystery into the plot. These two things kept me turning the pages. I continued reading because I genuinely wanted to find out what was going on and I genuinely cared about the characters.
I didn’t have a problem with some of the stranger plot elements: A man who can talk to cats, fish and leeches raining from the sky, government documents describing events that might have something to do with aliens, etc.
What I did have a problem with was the ending, which did nothing to tie up loose ends or bring the story to a graceful close. The author brought the story speeding toward a titillating conclusion, only to allow it to peter out. It was a huge letdown.
I found myself feeling disappointed and a bit bitter. After all of that weirdness, the characters calmly went back to their lives as if nothing had even happened and I, the reader, was left to wonder whether I should bother to read the other novel by this author, which was sitting on my desk.
After a few days of thought, I made my decision: I took it back to the library, unread.