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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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.

m
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.

SCL_Justin Oct 22, 2018

Killing Commendatore is an excellent Haruki Murakami novel. It's more like Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle than his very weird multiple-worldness type stories (like 1Q84 or Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World) or his more straightforward loneliness stories (Norwegian Wood or South of the Border West of the Sun).

It's about a painter who finds a painting after splitting up with his wife. He meets a mysterious wealthy man and they uncover a strange pit. The painter works on some paintings while a strange bell rings in the forest. There's an intense 13-year-old girl and her aunt who doesn't like to tell people what paperback she is reading. There is a dying old painter and sex and opera on LP records. It's wonderful.

I'm actually a bad judge of Murakami novels for an impartial reader because I love most of them too much. I try to put flaws into context and see how this piece relates to the whole all while trying to avoid turning the whole thing into Murakami novel bingo (which I acknowledge is possible to play).

Anyway. My favourite novel of the year.

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