Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date:
Length: 681 pages
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Magic Realism

CW: n/a

When a thirty-something portrait painter is abandoned by his wife, he holes up in the mountain home of a famous artist. The days drift by, spent painting, listening to music and drinking whiskey in the evenings. But then he discovers a strange painting in the attic and unintentionally begins a strange journey of self-discovery that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt and a haunted underworld.



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

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.

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