Tired as I am with Murakami at this point, I think I'm finding more success and heart in his earlier work. This is of course quintessential (what isn't of his, at this point) — precocious teenager, focus on American culture, alienation, another world, etc. You get it. It hits Murakami Bingo.

What I liked about Dance Dance Dance in particular is twofold:

  1. The alienation has a face. This is a book that is explicitly about capitalism and not "urban ennui" — it has a strict thesis about what corrodes the world, and treats that thesis with a sense of confidence and resolution that he's since moved away from.
  2. The protagonist, similarly, is not so cipher-like. He is distinctly a Murakami protagonist, but one with a weird humor and a personality and — perhaps like the book itself! — a thesis about the world and why it's important.

(I am also enamored with "shoveling snow" as a modern condition, and will remember this book fondly for inclusion of that turn of phrase alone.)


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