In: Criticism

From love to hate

Of all the books I’ve read recently, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is, without doubt, my favorite. This is my first outing with Murakami, and the only thing I’m certain of is that he’s incomparable; I can’t think of anyone, living or dead, who writes the way he does.

The book itself is bizarre, spooky, and mind-bending–talking cats, mackerel falling from the sky, and even Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame all figure prominently in the plot. Imagine that feeling you get when you first wake up from one of the weirdest dreams you’ve ever had, and you’re pretty close to knowing what reading this book is like. Murakami has an ethereal, light-as-a-feather writing style, which contrasts nicely with the story’s darker elements. Sure, one could easily label Kafka on the Shore as postmodern, but it’s not of the Thomas Pynchon or James Joyce variety; Murakami is fun.

Chuck Palahniuk

Literary deal-breakers are nothing new to me. It used to be that I wouldn’t show the slightest interest in a woman who didn’t read, but I’ve since refined that philosophy a bit. My last girlfriend loved Chuck Palahniuk, which didn’t set off warning bells at the time. Now, it would. She was psychotic. (The fact that I hate Palahniuk matters little, since I only read Haunted after borrowing it from her. He’s an awful writer.) She even had the crazy-girl gleam in her eyes, something which I’d always found disturbing. Thankfully, mind-blowing sex temporarily washed away the feeling that she’d slit my throat, or worse, while I was sleeping.

In the end, we broke up after a few months, not over Palahniuk, but because she was always telling me to read Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy. Not only do I find erotica to be utterly dull, but Rice looks just like my grandmother. And that’s extremely creepy.

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