I've now finished it. Three books in one: it's been a wonderful companion for the last 6 weeks. But boy, it's a big book!
At times it's been a solid read in a physical sense - 900 pages is heavy maan.
I have loved it, appreciated it and been eager to pick it up whenever I've had some free moments.
The ending was fabulous - I like cyclic stories and those with a journey motif; this one has been an epic one.
Murakami's writing style is inventive and at times extremely evocative.
Here's an excerpt where he goes for a densely descriptive style that reminds me of Mervyn Peak in the Gormenghast trilogy:
With its high ceiling and muted lighting, the capacious lobby of the Hotel Okura's main building seemed like a huge stylish cave. Against the cave walls, like the sighing of a disemboweled animal, bounced the muted conversations of people seated on the lobby's sofas. The floor's thick, soft carpeting could have been primeval moss on a far northern island. It absorbed the sound of footsteps into its endless span of accumulated time. The men and women crossing and recrossing the lobby looked like ghosts tied in place by some ancient curse, doomed to the endless repetition of their assigned roles. Men were armored in tight-fitting business suits. Slim young women were swathed in chic black dresses, here to attend a ceremony in one of the hotel's many reception rooms. They wore small but expensive accessories, like vampire finches in search of blood, longing for a hint of light they could reflect. A large foreign couple loomed like an old king and queen past their prime, resting their tired bodies on thrones in the corner.Often it's tricky to come up with appropriate similes but he doesn't ever seem to have that problem. The vampire finch (pictured above) is a PERFECT comparison.
When I bought my next book from the sale table at Poppy's bookstore in Havelock North I noticed a new Murakami title in their racks. Definitely have to grab that next time I visit.
Love and peace - Wozza