I was bought this book as a present. I did not immediately set to and read it but it was, in the end, next on the list. I can’t say that I have ever got to the end if a murakami novel and thought “I nailed that “. I feel that they are more like paintings, beautiful descriptions of characters and their stories, which you often see as a whole, but sometimes not. Individual elements will seem straightforward but their position becomes less clear in the greater context of the novel.

In this book there is a murder. This seems simple but it’s connection to a stone found in a shrine is less so and even more tricky is the link to a 50 year old library guardian.

Murakami weaves conventional narrative threads with deep exploration of the psyche.

I’m also quite aware that elements if the Japanese way of thinking and their religious world view may well be very important in a book like this. We meet dead people and enter into the world between the living and the dead as well as being as able to travel through space and time, populate other people’s dreamscapes, and talk to objects abs animals in their own language.

The book’s beauty is captivating, and the descriptions of love and loss are very tender. In the end our protagonist ( a 15yr old boy on the run from home) is at once the focus and the catalyst for the following events.

We also get to explore how memories and experience shape our very existence and how we can free ourselves from the things which have held us back in this world.


It took me a little while to work out the function of the serpent which came out of mr Nakata’s mouth, but I think it is his disability, which should not be allowed to follow him into the afterlife. Hoshino must kill this to help his friend and close the entrance to prevent the portal between the worlds from being breached by those things which he needs to leave behind.

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