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…
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