Tag: Realism

Haruki Murakami – Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World | Review

Title: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 404

Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

This one’s a difficult one to review because it’s so bizarre, and indeed that’s something of a barrier-to-entry to begin with. It took me a hundred pages or so to get absorbed in the story, and I actually started it out as a bedtime book because I wasn’t too excited about it. But then I got hooked, and by the end of it I was enjoying it, although I still didn’t really know what was going on.

That’s kind of a good thing though, because it means you could pick it up for a second and a third time and find something new every time. But at the same time, it was also pretty good just on the initial read, and it almost reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, although King’s series is a lot better.

Part of the problem here might be the translation, which in this instance was done by Alfred Birnbaum. I’ve never heard of the guy before, but you could definitely tell the difference between Birnbaum’s voice as a translator and Jay Rubin’s voice, who I’m more familiar with. There were even a couple of typos here and there, which I quite frankly wasn’t expecting from a book published by Vintage.

 

 

The story itself is basically a magical realism story, and it’s a genre that I’ve not had much love for historically. To be honest, I don’t think this one has changed my mind, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Some genres you love and others you don’t, and it just sucks for me that Murakami wrote so much in a genre that I don’t care for when you consider that I’m hoping to slowly work my way through all of his stuff.

And so I guess that brings me up to the end of this review, and I’m just sorry that I don’t have more to say about it. I can also see why this is a popular book amongst Murakami’s fans, and I wouldn’t rule out re-reading it again in the future. But in the meantime, I need to work my way through the rest of his stuff, and so re-reads are out for now. Wish me luck, there’s more to come.

 

 

Click here to buy Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

 


Stephen King – Rose Madder | Review

Title: Rose Madder

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 471

Rating: 7/10

 

Stephen King - Rose Madder

Stephen King – Rose Madder

 

Rose Madder seemed to drag by for me, which is a shame. Sure, King has a habit of blowing my mind with the word counts on his releases, but usually you still find yourself barreling through towards the end. With this one, I felt like I was forcing myself to finish it, although I will at least admit that it got better as time went on.

Loosely speaking, the story line follows a woman called Rose as she tries to escape from her abusive husband. Rose’s husband is a cop, and he likes to hit her in the kidneys so that the bruises don’t show. He’s a manipulative son of a bitch and he treats her horribly, and even when she finally plucks up the courage to leave him, she’s absolutely terrified.

Along the way, Rose makes a number of new friends and tries to get her life back on track, meeting a new man and purchasing a painting which ends up taking on a lot of significance within the story. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure why that part of the story line was even there, because it felt forced and distracted me from the overarching action. But if you like horror and realism mixed together, but with elements of magic thrown in, then perhaps this is the book for you.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

For me, I thought it was an okay read, but I’d have trouble recommending this one ahead of any of the other Stephen King books that I’ve read. It felt like it could have been written by anyone, which usually wouldn’t be much of a criticism, but when it comes to Stephen King, I expected better. Although there were moments here and there where he was self-referential, like when he referenced ka and when he talked about the characters reading Paul Sheldon novels. Sheldon, if you didn’t know already, was the main character in Misery, the author who was imprisoned by his terrifying number one fan.

The alternate reality on the other side of the painting was also a little bit like the windows in King’s Dark Tower series, and while it was interesting to see King explore how events in one universe can affect events in another, it seemed out of place with the rest of the story line. It’s a bit like if you were reading a James Bond novel and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the bad guy whips out a magic wand and fires off the cruciatus curse.

Overall then, this is a professional quality book but it just lacks that certain something, that special spark of brilliance that makes a Stephen King book what it is. Read it if you want – it’s your call!

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy Rose Madder.

 


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