Book Review

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

In the last couple of years Murakami has become one of my favourite authors, however I was left a little disappointed with the last novel of his I read, The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, it was good but it didn’t captivate me the same way 1Q84, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Norwegian Wood and other works I’ve read did. So, I was looking forward to diving into his most recent novel Killing Commendatore

After the protagonist’s wife suddenly announces after six years that she’s leaving him, the portrait painter ends up moving into the empty house of an old famous artist on top of a mountain far away from Tokyo. One day he discovers a hidden painting in the attic and he can’t tear his eyes away from it, afterwards life on the mountaintop isn’t the same. As a mysterious bell rings in the night, he soon discovers life isn’t all that it seems and neither are his neighbours… 

I loved all of the characters in this novel, they were all so interesting with different mysteries to uncover about them. The protagonist felt like the usual Murakami protagonist which I enjoy, I like how he just went with the flow of what was going on. I like it when a protagonist allows things to play out rather than try to interrogate them all the time. As there is a fairly small cast of characters in this novel, they are all incredibly different and most of them have a chance to interact. Those interactions are really well written and are a great way to learn more about each character just through the dialogue. 

Murakami’s writing style is very unique to him and I find his novels so easy to immerse myself into. I’m always in awe at how easily he can intertwine reality with the strange and supernatural occurrences without it seeming, as odd as it sounds, unrealistic. You know what’s happening isn’t normal but at the same time it doesn’t feel like a fantasy and that’s what I love. I found myself hooked to this novel and I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. I was invested and eager to discover the answers of the many mysteries that the protagonist found himself tangled up in. 

As much as I loved this novel, there were a couple of things missing for me that would have made the novel a full five stars. Despite this, this is one of my favourite novels that I’ve read by Murakami and has me excited to read more of his work in the future. If you’ve never read a Murakami novel before, I think this is definitely a great one to get stuck into as an introduction to his works. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.
www.blackwells.co.uk

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