by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Have you ever had that feeling—that you’d like to go to a whole different place and become a whole different self?”
When this novel came out in the U.S. it was reviewed in the NY Times which described the story this way:
"... a hallucinatory vortex revolving around several loosely connected searches carried out in suburban Tokyo by the protagonist-narrator, Toru Okada, a lost man-boy in his early 30's who has no job, no ambition and a failing marriage. When his cat disappears, he consults a whimsical pair of psychics, sisters named Malta and Creta Kano, who visit him in his dreams as often as in reality. Then his wife leaves him, suddenly and with no explanation, and he spends his days hanging out with an adolescent girl named May Kasahara, a high-school dropout obsessed with death, who works for a wig factory. At one point, seeking solitude, Toru descends to the bottom of a dry well in the neighborhood, and while he's down there, he has a bizarre experience, which might or might not be another dream: he passes through the subterranean stone wall into a dark hotel room, where a woman seduces him. This experience leaves a blue-black mark on his cheek that gives him miraculous healing powers. Eventually, he's rescued by Creta Kano, who reveals to him that she has been defiled in some hideous, unnatural way by Toru's brother-in-law, a politician whose rising career appears to be propelled by demonic powers."Mixed into Toru's story are the stories of different soldiers relating their experiences. The juxtapositions and shifting realities make this a challenging read, but it is worth the effort because Murakami's observations about how people think, and act, and present themselves to themselves, are insightful and unique and are definitely not to be missed.
This book is on my Classics Club list.