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am 12. Oktober 1999
If nothing else, this book will shatter any illusions you may have had about Japan and its people fitting any stereotypes or what you thought were your astute observations on them. However the novel soon runs out of steam ('oh, another orgy') and ends somewhat predictably, regardless of whether youre reading the original or the translation. The sexually explicit passages are quite compelling and realistic, but overall the focus is weak. The subplot involving the narrator's imaginary 'city' is particularly uninteresting and contrived. It is a must-read (and own) for the serious student of Japanese and a quick one at that. In the end though, other novels like Box Man and any Tanizaki (or Dostoyevsky, Burgess' Clockwork Orange) evoke conscious self-destruction more eloquently with insightful denoument. While I did enjoy the book and was able to relate it to some of my own experience, a word of warning to all would-be coffeshop japanophile poseurs : this book isn't as good as you think it is
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am 23. August 1998
Street cool characters drink, do drugs and have a lot of group sex - then the protagonist decides there must be more to life than that.
Well, yeah.
This novel aspires to Camus "L'Etranger" but without the philosophical underpinning we're left with pure derivation. There's the same tone of voice, the same sensuousness of description, the same criticism of contemporary values, but no ideas beneath the surface. Given the 20 year gap, Murakami can be more graphic than Camus, but painting the vomit in greener tones only makes things more cartoon-like.
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am 1. August 1997
This book reminded me of Brett-Easton Ellis's book Less Then Zero. A man will tell you of his lost years as a young man. His first person narritive is carefully paced and well thoughtout you almost think that you stumbled on somebodys private diary and you are sneaking a peek. This makes it all the better to read, like you are privy to some private confession that on one should hear. You strangely feel no sympathy for him and his friends mistakes, but you are very curious about them and what becomes of them. The chacters are well written alomst like they could be people that you might have met in your life. All I have to say is if you like first person narritives like I do read this book
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am 4. August 1999
I guess I have to admit that my image of Japanese culture is rather off. When I think of Japan the last things that come to mind are junkies, crime, and moral bankruptcy. I can't say this book has made me feel any better about anything, but it has shown me that the sort of problems infecting America today are common elsewhere too. If I had to compare this book to anything else, I'd say the author is close to Brett Easton Ellis in his dry, morbid, clinical description of some rather unsavory, unsympathetic, and generally unpleasant characters. I recommend it only for those who are willing to learn from the mistakes of others.
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am 27. Oktober 1999
A great read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Especially the end which I didn' t see as entirely fatalistic. I felt the character("Ryu"), in spite of his situation, seem to regain his motivation and sense of purpose when he is able to return to his apartment. "...I thought, I want to become like this glass. And I want to reflect this smooth white curving myself. I want to show other people these splendid curves reflected in me." This book is that reflection. Don't be put off by it' s informal writing and only slightly awkward translation. You wont regret it when you finish it.
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am 26. Januar 1998
Fabulous read. You'll wonder about the Japanese character after this book. It's not tea services and complex go games, it's an insightful William Burroughs. The descriptions are clear and pungent, unlike most of what came out of the US in the 60's. Includes a great sex scene as well as good drug descriptions. An interesting distance is set up between the characters and the reader so that you are amused by all the horrible things that happen, then you wonder what in your own soul could care so little.
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am 25. September 1998
A fierce, grotesque journey through the depths of one man's apathy and suffering, Almost Transparent Blue remains one of Murakami's finest works, even 20 years later. This book was unique in Japanese literature at the time of its release, and literally defined the "hard boiled" style of writing that such contemporaries as Oe Kenzaburo and Haruki Murakami have embraced in recent years. Murakami is a marvel with metaphors; and I can guarentee the end of this blow will blow your mind.
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am 6. Juni 2000
If you are intereseted in Japanese subculture you should read this book. It's completely different from "69" but just as addictive. Reading drug induced prose is always fun. But I can't tell for sure if this book is truth or fiction. He's a little too coherent to be a total druggie. It blows "Memoirs from a Geisha" away.
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am 16. September 1999
It is a shame that Ryu Murakami is so little known to the rest of the world. Yet, it is little wonder considering how much of his genius is inevitablly lost in the translation. I wish there was a way in which the English-language reader could feel the quiet rythms of his prose. It would make the book a lot more haunting.
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am 5. November 1999
i am hugely disappointed by this book. I thought it would move me to another world, but it was just another utter predictable banter with repetitive tritefulness, i can almost cry. Read this and weep
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