My overall rating: 4 of 5 stars
Okay, instead of writing an elaborate review, I’ll share my experience while reading this short story collection.
First one is The Wind up Bird…,, a really sexy short story with cat hunting and beer drinking. Just like that. Nothing more. The guy has got an offer to have a sex chat being married. He is so confused that he has gone to search their missing cat. Then he meets a girl, whose voice matches with the sex chat voice, but really can not find any other proof. And like this story ends with determination of not to have a sex chat. It’s okay. 3 out of 5 kind.
Then comes The second bakery attack. It is an uncanny story on inner hunger. Very funny. Quite okay. 3.5/5
Next is The kangaroo Communique, a love letter to a customer a salesman but full of funny logic. Good one but not fantastic. 3/5
Then there is On seeing a 100% perfect girl…, it’s also a story about small sweet fictional love proposal which I really have liked. Nice one. 3.5/5
Here comes Sleep . I’ve lot to say about this one. In my opinion this could have been one the greatest stories by Murakami. But sadly, it’s an wasted opportunity. This one is about a woman who losses her sleep and was quite normal health wise, utilizing all the 24 hours of her days. She mostly spends the times reading the mammoth Anna Karenina again and again and driving late at night. Now this could have been ended in a great way, but it has ended suddenly, like in middle. It seems a very artistic way of ending a story, but this story demands to have a proper ending. But alas! Murakami and his weirdness. What can we do! So it gets 3/5.
Then comes few similarly ‘nothing-happens’ and ‘no-point-made’ stories, like Barn Burning, The fall of Roman empire…, which you just read along and move on to next not feeling anything for it. This kind of stories are trademark of Murakami. They are meant to be enjoyed only. Here, I want to mention three very good stories by Murakami published in The New Yorker magazine. They are namely, Kino (the best one), Yesterday and Scheherazade. They are full of Murakamish themes and theory. I recommend any Murakami fan to read these.
Now, let’s move on to other stories of the book.
There are other good stories like Lederhosen [3/5], The little green monster [4/5](you have to read this one, I won’t spoil anything)
A window is another good story, not much weirdness, thanks to Murakami for the change. 🙂
This review is becoming pretty long and hence I’ll wrap up with the best ones.
THE DANCING DWARF:: This one! My god! This story has saved this book and saved Murakami from my frustration for him. Yes, this is such a good story. Magic realism and proper ending made this story the best of the lot. Rating it 5 on 5.
THE SILENCE: Another non-weird, purely real story. And this one ends with a deep lesson for life. This has moved me genuinely with the life changing lesson it has given me. 4.75 on 5
The last lawn and The elephant vanishes are also good and they are filled with normal Murakamish weirdness.