Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review : Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

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To start with the title, It make very little relevance to the story. If you try hard you can connect the song lyrics to the story. In the end, author could have come with a better title.

In a gist, the story is about five people. All of them 'affected by'/'want' sex.

Characters : There are three main character Watanabe, Naoko and Midori. Wantanabe is in love with Naoko and also in love with Midori. Naoko loves Wantanabe. Midori has a boy friend but she is in love with Watanabe. All of them wants to make love. Because of this love triangle they are forbidden to have sex. One thing I don't understand is why can't love be simple.

The best character in the whole book is "Nagasawa" . His anecdote and philosophy are awesome.

Rest off the character are mundane and banal. All the female character in this book are weak and miserable. All of them have lust and desire. Author shows no respect to any of them.

The backdrop of 1960's japan is seldom utilized properly. This story could have set in any decade.

I was telling myself that I shouldn't had read "kafka on the shore" from the same author before I read this book. The later book raised the bar so much that I couldn't stand this dull book.


ps: watch the movie and save the time.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review : Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut

This is my 9th book of the year. I am giving this 5 out of 5. So it goes.

Reading "Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade" was like riding a roller coaster.The narration is very unique. A non-linear time travel fantasy war book . This is one of a kind. Mind that this book was written in 1969. so it goes.

It starts of with the writer convincing the readers that the theme of this book wont be similar to other war glorifying fictional classics. This is a non-fictional/fantasy/satirical/….. hence you can put this book into many categories. This book is for all generations. The theme of this book is about the fallout of war. It portraits a new evil side of the war. So it goes.

Whenever we Google WW2 , the top hit will definitely mention the holocaust, Nazi, Gestapo, pearl harbor, London bombing, Hiroshima, Axis, Allied, Poland, Communism, East and West Germany, Hitler, Mussolini ,  Panzers, Submarines, spies, Iwo Jima, Inglorious basterds etc . But there is no mention about the friendly fire. No one cared about the idiot who gave the firing order without deliberating. No one discussed the killing of the friendly fire. So it goes.

In this book, we see the war from the eye of a Private who shouldn’t be in the war in first place. He is immature and very emotional. A weakling recruited by US army stuck in the friendly fire zone. I flinch at the thought of what would happen if I  was in that situation. Will I be cursing my own people or I will be praising them after winning the war? His time travel and abduction by aliens. So it goes.

Tralfamadorians, as the author calls the aliens, I like them and their logic about how they see the time. They see time as snapshot and they pick a good snapshot and live in that moment. So it goes.

Author uses “So it goes” phrase many times in this book.  He places them brilliantly whenever there is a  change in scenario, death, comic, satire etc. So it goes.


Review Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

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Starting 2014, I set a goal of reading 52 books. “Kafka on the shore” by Haruki Murakami is my 8th book of the year.

The best way to describe this book is to compare with another movie masterpiece “Mullholand drive”. In his screenplay David lynch constantly keep us in the loop of reality and the dream world of Betty Elms. In this book author tries to keep reader in the loop of spiritual and the real world. And he is successful. The whole time while reading the book we are contemplating what are the connections between the characters and their stories.

 According to me the best way to enjoy this book is by having your own interpretation. And my interpretation is this book describes very complex human emotions and relationship.

  1. Nakata : The story of Nakata is that, the person with the most humble heart can be dragged to the dark side. He can be provoked to do evil things.But I don’t believe he attained zen. 
  2. Kafka : The story of Kafka is classic tale about a boy coming of age. Even though he is only 15, he has been introduced to us that he is living in a very complex world of relationship. On top of all this his desire and lust crosses path with his ambiguity over the purpose of his journey. In the end he found out all the answers to his questions, but he will be haunted by the event taking place between him and Miss Saeki.
  3. Miss Saeki : In my opinion is the worst of all characters in this book (At least Johnny Walker has some purpose to kill the cats). She is the one who started the fiasco which ultimately affected all the characters. It took away the childhood from Nakata. The whole book revolve around one selfish act of Miss Saeki. 
  4. Oshima : Oshima is the most humble character in this book. I really liked him. He is trying to prove that there are different kinds of people and they have their own opinion about this metaphysical world. 
  5. Hoshino : Another wonderful character who get enlightened during the journey with Nakata. I really liked the reference of the shoe shinning monk “Everyone is doing the shitty job. It doesn’t matter who is doing where.” 
  6.  Johnnie Walker & Colonel Sanders: I agree with author that both of them are concept. and they are introduced in the book to guide people in good or bad way. One thing i didn’t understand is why Sanders is a pimp. I felt it was a just a stretch or may be to show Hoshino is still not enlightened yet. 
  7.  I do believe there is some connection between stone, Nakata, Kafka and Saeki. It can be spiritual.
  8.  If Nakata remember that he killed Johnny walker then it is clear that kafka didn’t kill his father. 
In end it is an amazing book which leave you thinking about the spirituality and relationship.