Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review: Dance, Dance, Dance

Dance, Dance, Dance is the second Haruki Murakami book I've read (the first being Kafka on the Shore). I just learned through Wikipedia that Dance, Dance, Dance is actually a sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase. Hmm. Well I guess I did that backwards! Anyway, despite it being a sequel it was the sort of book that stands on its own (kind of like how Robertson Davies writes his trilogies).

Murakami is obviously Japanese and all of his books are set in Japan and therefore contain a lot of Japanese elements to them. What I like about Murakami is his quirkiness and sense of humor. Despite these being translations I really feel like the original flavor has been preserved. His characters are strange, possibly bordering on unrealistic, but always endearing and fascinating.

Dance, Dance, Dance could be described as a mystery. We follow an unnamed protagonist as he grapples with boredom, alienation and encounters with the Sheep Man, a 13 year old clairvoyent and a former high school classmate who is now a famous movie star. He travels to the location where the Dolphin Hotel once was (although now it has been bought by a large company and changed into a a luxery hotel) because of strange dreams he was having about a past lover (who also happens to be a prostitute). Things get interesting when he has more visions and people start turning up dead.

Murakami books (the two I have read anyway) all deal with characters who are isolated in some way and attempting to make connections with those around them. They all have elements of fantasy or the supernatural. Sexuality is also prevalent throughout the novel and both novels mentioned some form of prostitution in the blase way that it seems to be dealt with in Asia. Dance, Dance, Dance is unusual, surprising and often amusing. These are the kinds of books that I will be reading when I long for Asia.

Hope that helps somewhat Carter!


Carter said...

Wow. This is a real book review. So impressive (and intimidating!!!).
Thank you very much.

I just got "Kafka on the Shore."

ambearo said...

I liked Kafka on the Shore (we did it for my book club) although I wish they had explained a few things better in it (I can tell you what once you've read it- don't want to spoil anything).

Banannas said...

Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors. The story I like the most is his most fantasy-based, Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the World.

And if you're interested in a more acid-trippy Japanese storyteller, I recommend reading Ryu Murakami.

I've been reading a lot of young adult/kiddie lit lately, so allow me to also point you towards Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. (^.^)v

ambearo said...

Ooh, I'd been eying a Ryu Murakami book- is he related to Haruki?

And I've read half of Stargirl (in What the Book in Itaewon, actually) and liked it. I should find a copy in Canada...