Saturday 9 May 2020

Book Review: Killing Commendatore by Murakami Haruki (Literary Fiction/Magical Realism)

Title: Killing Commendatore
Author: Murakami Haruki
Harvill Secker
Publication Date: 2018 (2017)
Literary Fiction/Magical Realism
Xmas Gift


In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a strange painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors. 

Killing Commendatore is another wonderful story from Murakami. I loved the premise, and the elements of magical realism worked really well. I eagerly turned the pages from start to finish, wondering how events would play out. Although I like all Murakami's books, Killing Commendatore is definitely one of my favourite plots out of all his works, and the story overall is beautifully crafted. With the completion of this one, my goal to read all of his books currently in English translation nears completion - only two left! One word of caution to readers... If you are new to Murakami's works, this is probably not the best one to start with, so I would only recommend it to current fans of his writing. If you want to give his works a try, start with Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

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