Killing Commendatore

Killing Commendatore

Book - 2018
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"A publishing event: a major new, epic novel from the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. An unnamed thirty-something portrait painter, abandoned by his wife, becomes caretaker of the home of an aging famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When the younger man discovers an unknown painting in the attic, entitled "Killing Commendatore"--a painting that takes its cues from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni--he also discovers clues about Amada, his family and their involvement in a violent and failed plot to kill a Nazi leader in Vienna. As the painter slowly learns the truth, he is equally consumed by the story of a wealthy and mysterious neighbor, Menshiki, in what is, according to the author, a clear homage to The Great Gatsby. The painter becomes obsessed with Menshiki's doomed love affair, the young girl who might be his child and a stone-lined underground space in the nearby woods where Buddhist priests were once buried alive. This pit becomes a portal into another world, a surreal place where the figures from "Killing Commendatore" take form to guide our narrator on an epic journey. Ambitious and haunting, tactile and surreal, preoccupied with questions about trauma, art and the creative process, Killing Commendatore moves between the known world and a complex underworld."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Bond Street Books, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780385690690
038569069X
Branch Call Number: MUR
Characteristics: 681 pages

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khyatichaudhary92
Jun 20, 2019

This is my 3rd Murakami book and I am loving it so much.. I am about to finish this one. Never understood yet what magic Murakami does to his readers. Couldn't put down this book..

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writermala
Apr 17, 2019

This is a well-written well- translated book. Hurakami has used clever characters to expound on his philosophy of art and artists. As usual we have out of life characters to make the book lively. All in all I could not put the almost 700 pages book down till I had finished it.

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lukasevansherman
Apr 10, 2019

Japan's Haruki Murakami is one of the world's most popular and prolific writers (and of my favorites), but there's been something of a growing backlash. Common complaints are that his prose style is dull (although it's hard to tell since it's translated), his characters are all the same, his stories are all the same, and that there's not much substance to his writing. None of these criticism are completely off the mark, and his latest novel, despite its length, is one of his weaker and more shallow ones. It's a return to the more surreal realms of "Wind-Up Bird" or "Wild Sheep" with a haunted painting and a small man who appears to the protagonist. I always like his stuff, but it did feel like his was treading water with this one and that it could've used a good editor.

IndyPL_TimothyV Mar 20, 2019

Most of Murakami's favored tropes are employed in this novel, such that seasoned readers will find themselves in familiar territory. References to World War Two are reminiscent of his previous The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but are more awkwardly deployed, reading more like Wikipedia entries rather than lived experience. Killing Commendatore does excel as an exploration of the philosophy of art, and the nameless narrator expounds at length on this matter. Otherwise, apart from being an artist, the narrator feels much like nearly every other Murakami protagonist: intellectual, sensitive, independent, and lovelorn. In typical Murakami fashion, several plot lines (including the tantalizing opening scene) are never resolved. There is much to like in this novel, and careful reading will yield rewards, but this is not his best work.

the book's length is necessary to enjoy the pacing. enjoyably written throughout.

(...but what about that prologue...?)

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belialle
Feb 12, 2019

Practitioners of advanced Vipassana buddhist meditation can approach listening to the audiobook version of "Killing Commendatore" as a very effective meditation exercise and may enjoy it for that purpose. For other potential readers, expect to experience bouts of a range of emotions related to lengthy and circular tedious writing flecked with elements of absurdist fiction, mundane supernatural occurrence, and perpetual low simmer suspense.

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Blue_18
Feb 01, 2019

Creepy on so many levels it's impossible to begin to describe. If you haven't read Murakami; read A Wild Sheep Chase, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, or Kafka on the Shore instead. Otherwise, leave this one alone.

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LAARA333
Dec 27, 2018

I love this author and looked forward to reading this book, but it was a huge disappointment to me. So many 'mysteries' that just flattened into nothing, 'discoveries' and 'journeys' that went nowhere at all and left me empty of any feeling for the characters (especially Mariye stuck in Menshiki's house -- could you get any less interesting or purposeful than that ???). In my opinion this novel was juvenile, unsatisfying, and repetitive (every plot line was repeated at least three times in three different chapters -- did he think we would be putting the book down and forgetting what had happened previously?) Unlike so many of his other novels. I would definitely not recommend this one.

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MikeEe
Dec 26, 2018

This is an indulgent novel.
Murakami indulges himself by including too many details about everything — cars, records, food, wrist watches and a 13 year old’s breasts. The result is a 600+ page book that moves at a glacial pace, and when there is action, like the scene near the end when the unnamed narrator travels between the care home and his own mountain-top home, it reads like a video game - choppy and stilted. The overabundance of details is disruptive.
Save yourself the hours this tome takes to read and do something fun and/or productive.

t
tjdickey
Dec 26, 2018

A stunning and engaging read, even on a superficial level. But scratch the intellectual surface, and Murakami engages his readers on so many different levels, (but somehow without becoming mired in atifice). Killing Commendatore is steeped in philosophical discourse about artistic creation, whether that is portrait painting, representation vs. abstract concept, or translations between national styles (Japanese or Viennese, both painting and music), or the use of blank space in pictorial narrative, or even Thelonious Monk's seeking the tones between piano notes. Colors (white, green, orange) speak loudly behind the story, as does the absence of color or other sensory input. So much of the power here lies on the boundaries between "presence and absence," between perception and reality, and ultimately between possibility and human decision. To finish this heady concoction, Murakami also layers in homage to Mozart, and to Strauss, and to Scott Fitzgerald.

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