Review: Dance, Dance, Dance

Dance, Dance, Dance

Dance, Dance, Dance
By Haruki  Murakami
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679753797, 1995, 416pp.)

The Short of It:

Part mystery, part fantasy…Dance, Dance, Dance is a beautifully crafted, wicked-good example of a surreal story that works.

The Rest of It:

An unnamed protagonist is on a quest to find his missing girlfriend. Along the way, he plays chaperone to a wiser-than-her-years teenager, cavorts with call girls and reunites with a friend from high school who just happens to be a famous A-list celebrity.

Dance, Dance, Dance is actually the sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase. Although I’m sure it would have been better to read them in order, my enjoyment of the novel wasn’t affected in the least by not doing so. I was completely and utterly mesmerized the whole time through.

Murakami is a master of dialogue. When his characters speak, I listen. It might be the most mundane thing coming out of their mouths, but for some reason, I always find myself sitting on the edge of my seat when they speak.  I think it has to do with the complexity of his characters. They’re complex, so their dialogue doesn’t have to be.

The other thing that works for me, are the surreal story elements. Normally, I cannot stand surrealism in literature. It usually takes me out of the narrative, but Murakami uses it carefully to emphasize the harshness of reality. I find myself completely willing to drink the Kool-Aid, and that says a lot.

As much as I enjoy his writing, and his continual references to Western culture, I know that many may not care for his writing style.  This is the second novel I’ve read by him, and it too, contained quite a bit of sex and a bit of violence. Not enough to bother me though. The other thing that might bother a reader are the untidy, open-ended endings. Again, not a problem for me.

Is Murakami for you? The only way to tell is to actually read one of his books. He’s a rock-star to me but you already knew that…

Source: Borrowed

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19 thoughts on “Review: Dance, Dance, Dance”

  1. I am very intrigued by this review, and think it might be time to try again with Murakami. I like complex characters who really make you sit up and take notice, and I am starting to discover that surreal elements can be very interesting, if done right. I think I will start with the first one in this series, but thanks to you Murakami won’t be off limits to me anymore!

  2. This is one of his books you don’t hear much about. I know I have to break down and try him. If I could get out from under some time-sensitive commitments, I’d do it. My goal will be to read Kafka before year end. Smack me around if I don’t.

    1. Maybe one of his short story collections. I’ve only read two of his novels so far so I’m not sure which novel would be best to start with.

  3. Interesting review of this … um… surreal book. Funny you mention “surreal” because that’s exactly how I found him when I was reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I admit I did not finish. Maybe some day I’ll get back to it. On another note, have you read The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto? Just wonder what you think of it or her writing.

    1. I haven’t read Yoshimoto yet but I downloaded The Lake for 99 cents to my Kindle! Do you like her writing better than Murakami’s? I imagine it’s totally different. I had a hard time with the beginning of Kafka on the Shore (my first Murakami). I really thought the guy was tripping on acid, but about halfway in, I was totally mesmerized by his thought processes. I liked Dance, Dance, Dance more than Kafka, but perhaps that’s because I would relate to the unnamed protagonist more than the main character in Kafka.

  4. Wonderful review. This is one of Murakami’s novels I haven’t heard or read about before now. It sounds captivating and entertainign with a good dose of weirdness. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading the same book over and over again with different author’s names attached. An author like Murakami will hopefully eradicate that feeling competely. We’ll see since I just ordered 3 of his books!

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