I KNOW. I know, I know, I know! (in Monica Geller’s voice) I may have spoken too soon about this book when I posted this reading update in January. In that earlier post I was protesting about the average 3 out of 5 stars rating people would give Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami because I was enjoying and thoroughly liking the book at the time.
I don’t want to blame myself though, because the book really seemed promising in its first few chapters. The prose, of course, is beautiful but the writing, I realized, is a bit… off. It was tolerable in the beginning, but as the novel progressed I thought it sounded SO different from your typical Murakami novel. Which I found really weird because I’ve always been so fond of Murakami’s writing, but for some reason this one in particular doesn’t sound like a Haruki Murakami novel at all. Norwegian Wood? Haruki Murakami was probably like, huh, who is she, we don’t know her, let’s write something profusely bland. Eh, it was probably the translation, but still.
Anyway, so—thoughts, right? Aside from the writing style which I found to be odd and a little off and very un-Murakami, the plot is just way too loose. If you enjoyed this epic slow burn, I don’t care—you do you. I’m not saying people should dislike the plot just because I dislike it. But to me, it was a little pretentious and get this, okay, GET THIS: I LIKE SLOW BURNS. I am a sucker for books that center around the idea of a slow burn. The Danish Girl? That book’s extremely slow, but sign me up. It’s one of my favorites. The Catcher in the Rye? People hate it because it’s apparently too slow, too boring, but to me, nope. I like it just the way it is and it’s my favorite classic. Moby Dick? If on a winter’s night a traveler? Yes, I’m currently reading both books and they’re the very definition of slow burn but guess what? News flash, I’m enjoying them.
So, what is it that’s extremely wrong about Haruki Murakami’s Kiling Commendatore? I wish I can tell you but I really don’t know what it is about that book but it’s just too damn repulsive for me. There are certain parts I somehow like, but most of the paragraphs I end up skimming through and—done. I get why it was something Murakami had to write about though, it’s meant to be a book that focuses on the exploration of the artist and their connection to art itself, it’s possibly Murakami’s love letter to the idea of art. But I just don’t get it, why does the unnamed narrator spend an entire chapter, with the length of approximately 20 pages, just eating dinner? Or staring out into the night sky? Or observing a painting? I’m not even kidding. It’s tiring, it’s thinning my patience every damn second. Say what you want to say, but this book is literally the culmination of ALL of my literary pet peeves. Murakami probably sat down and just poured it all onto this book, every single passing thought, I bet, was documented.
The characters, in my opinion, are just too daaaaaaamn passive. I don’t see any development at all. Everyone’s too stagnant and nothing moves the story forward aside from Murakami’s unnecessary thoughts and random ravings about whatever is presently going on in the book. I’m really trying so hard to understand the personalities of each respective character, but really, nada. Can’t find any. Just that our unnamed narrator is too philosophical about everything that maybe even a butterfly in sight is worth an entire 20-page chapter.
As much as I want to, though, I’m not DNF-ing this one only for Murakami’s sake, because he’s one of my favorite authors and he probably put so much work into this. And maybe, just maybe, something surprises me in the end. I’m about 70% percent done and hopefully something redeemable happens nearing the ending of the story. I mean it. I’ve been reading this since January and I’m literally having a blast desperately dragging myself just to finish the book.