Haruki Murakami - Sputnik Sweetheart, translated by Philip Gabriel. + 1/2.
Not my first choice, but it was the only Murakami left on the library shelf yesterday afternoon. Easy, quick reading. Murakami's a weird one; I do find the oddness, the surrealistic quality of his ideas interesting, but the fact is his prose style itself leaves a lot to be desired (I am reliably informed that this is also true of the original Japanese, not just the English translations). The book, stylistically, occasionally hits a high note, but it also comes up with clunkers like this:
"Awesome," indeed. And then there are the weird similes, not so much uncanny as just plain wonky:I thought about Sumire. About the colossal hard-on I had the time I sat beside her when she moved into her new place. The kind of awesome, rock-hard erection I'd never experienced before. Like my whole body was about to explode.
the clatter of the ice cubes echoed hollowly, like the groans of a robber hiding in a cave.Not to mention a fair bit of name-dropping:She didn't seem to have to diet. Even so, it would appear she was superstrict about food. Like some Spartan holed up in a mountain fortress.
But despite all that, I still like it. Under all the clunk and wonkiness, there is a strange, hard, alluring core. The descriptions of Miu's experience in Switzerland sent a nicely disturbing shiver down my spine.A large truck coming to a halt at a red light blatted its hoarse air brake, reminding me of Ben Webster on the Tenortone in his later years.