The story is about a 15 year old boy, who is running away from home to escape an oedipal curse put on him by his father, and a mentally retarded old man, who 'needs to put things right'. It is a book full of introspection, self-reflection, philosophy, mythology, literature and fine arts. It is also very funny, the conversations between the old man Nagata and the truck driver Hoshino, are slapstick quality. There is some violence, sexual content and a very short disturbing scene with animal torturture. Just hop on for a psychedelic ride on a magic carpet of fantasy and metaphors. I enjoyed the narrator's crisp British accent, it was easy to tell the characters apart.
This is a very cool book. I sent this one back early, but I did get through about 7/8ths of it. The promise of the climax is not terrifically alluring (so I skipped it), but the adventure up until the climax is very cool and funny. I recommend this one.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I just couldn't. It was slow and self-indulgent in its characters' constant introspection. It was unnecessarily graphic in some scenes, which added nothing to the story. The language was ridiculously clinical in many places...whether the author meant the characters to appear detached by the word choice, I do not know. Do not waste your time on this book.
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into thirty-four languages, and the most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe.