This book is messed up. But let me back up and give you a quick summary.
Kenji works as a guide, showing tourists around the seedier side of Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood. The peep shows, the sex clubs, the love hotels. Kenji is only 20 but he's starting to get a Danny Glover I'm-getting-too-old-for-this-shit attitude to his job. But it lets him practice his English and pays well enough that eventually he should be able to leave Tokyo and make his way to America. You wouldn't be surprised if some of the people that call on Kenji's services are a bit on the odd side. But there seems to be something especially off about his latest customer Frank. Or is Kenji letting his imagination and disillusionment with his life get the best of him?
It's hard to talk about this book anymore without getting into massive spoilers. If you want to read an excellent, spoiler-free review, I recommend checking out Kayleigh's. Cos I'm going to just start talking spoilers now. I will tell you that if you aren't into horror, avoid this book. You're not going to like it. If you do like horror, check this out. It is very good in a "What the hell is going on? What am I reading? Seriously??? I think I need to keep the lights on tonight" type way. Also it's a quick read so hey, what do you have to lose?
I wished the book had been longer. I loved all of the tense build up to "Is Frank a crazy homicidal killer or is he just kind of a weird guy and Kenji is making something out of nothing?" but the book is so short that I felt like all of a sudden you got the answer to that question. A very bloody, very gory answer. Which, in a way, made the rest of the book feel very rushed. I loved the time Murakami spent developing the atmosphere and the setting and discussing all of the different sex clubs and the loneliness of the people that populate the Kabuki-cho and I wanted more of that. I honestly thought at one point we were seeing a dream sequence or fantasy or something but when it was revealed that NOPE THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING I was sort of...disappointed. I wanted there to be more time wondering, more time questioning, what was really going on? I think I would have even preferred if the book had an ambiguous ending. More ambiguous ending. Of course, who knows. Had it gone that way I may have been disappointed that I didn't know what actually happened. I am fickle.
|Not quite sure of the sloth's intentions|
Title quote from page 9
Murakami, Ryu. In The Miso Soup. Penguin Books, 1997