Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dance Dance Dance

I am a great admirer of Haruki Murakami's work and was very happy to read this novel as part of the Japanese Literature Challenge.

This is a novel set in 1980s Tokyo, full of the music and rampant consumerism of the era. The narrator is obsessed with the old Dolphin Hotel and returns to the site, now a shiny new hotel L'Hotel Dauphin. His odd, surreal adventures lead him to meet various bizarre characters, who may or may not be connected to each other. His old school chum who has become a famous actor now is desperate to both rekindle their old friendship and to try to move into more interesting roles. A thirteen year old girl obsessed with Talking Heads sulkily accompanies him around Japan and to Hawaii as she tries to make sense of her relationships with her famous parents. This is a world where even the services of prostitutes can be written off on expenses, but where there is a shadowy 'other world' hidden on the 16th floor of L'Hotel Dauphin. And just who or what is the mysterious Sheep Man?

The result is an engrossing surreal murder mystery, written with Murakami's stylish, quirky prose and insight.

I have written more mini-reviews of Japanese books, which you can read by following the links below:

Hard Boiled Underworld and the End of the World (my favourite Murakami novel)
The Three Cornered World by Matsume Soseki

The review site for the challenge is here, where you can find links to all the reviews written by the participants!

5 comments:

mel said...

thanks for your very perceptive review of this book. It looks like I will be reading it in September.

dolcebellezza said...

I believe Dance, Dance, Dance is the third in a trilogy that Murakami wrote, the first is Hear The Wind Sing, and the second is Pinball 1973 (which is virtually impossible to find in the United States). I have Dance, Dance Dance on my shelf, and I'm especially interested to read it not only for what Murakami does with words in the first place, but for what he does with a murder mystery. His surreal writing abilites are just so engrossing to me.

Tony said...

It's actually the fourth!

'Hear the Wind Sing' was released in English for ESL learners and is readily available on E-Bay and Amazon. It's very short...

'Pinball, 1973' was also released this way but went out of print quickly and now goes for thousands of dollars! The good news is that a quick web search usually brings up a PDF version :)

The third in the 'Trilogy of the Rat' is 'A Wild Sheep Chase', which is the book Murakami considers his first true piece of work.

The fourth book, 'Dance, Dance, Dance', has the same anonymous central character as the first three, but does not feature the character Rat (for obvious reasons if you've read the previous novels).

Lecture over!

Crafty Green Poet said...

mel, dolcebellezza - hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Tony - I never knew that, thanks!

Michelle said...

Dance Dance Dance was the first Murakami book I read, and I fell in love with his style straight away. You're definitely right about it being very very engrossing. I remember feeling like I was being sucked into the book when I was reading it!