as this will almost certainly end up a highly bloggish type of review (more about reviewer circumstances and random literary thoughts rather than the book), I guess I'll stealth update this. all you have to do, see, is check that little box at the bottom of the review thing "add to my update feed," and bing, just like that, you are not unloading boring details about the $900/month life in Tokyo to an unwilling audience. is rent $300? am I spending $500 on food? does that leave exactly enough cash for pure survival and nothing more? the guy who held the position right before me said he was doing skiing/boarding on the salary, but from a moment's start in his eyes when I asked how that worked out, I believe it's fairly certain he has parental support. how nice.
circumstantially, I should be mildly on edge b/c I'm not exactly sure when the first paycheck will arrive or how big the tax bite will be. and there are only further expenses until then. poverty and decline all around. ha. Japanese style poverty, though, which isn't so oppressive vis-a-vis actual Chinese or Indian poverty.
OK the book already.
I had this book rated at 4/5 before, just off halo effect. the thing about Murakami, of course, was that way before recognition by the mainstream, there was this time in the 90s when you were "in the club" so to speak to be reading him. in fact, to get any copies at all of his work, you pretty much had to know a private library or something, some specialized research university or Pacific-Rim bookstore that was on your side. at time of writing, of course, there's some other name that only the insiders know, but then again, in another way of thinking, I highly doubt David Markson will ever become wildly celebrated. even Italo Calvino seems a hipster's only insider guy.
SPUTNIK SWEETHEART maybe deserves the highish 3. the thing is, it has some of the elements of the Murakami surrealism, mysteriosity, odd relationships, life-defining love affairs or whatnot, but for some reason, on re-reading, I do find myself wondering if it is all halo effect, so to speak. would we, discovering this book randomly with a random author's name, even consider it the high 3. to what degree, moreover, did Greek culture make zero impact on Murakami's own internal self.
I guess in the interests of taking an actual stance, there is no harm in thinking of this work as the actual weak spot in the Murakami oeuvre. I mean, didn't the dissonance / mysteriosity work to actual climactic event in Norwegian Wood? isn't it all just tacked on in this 1999 work? and possibly isn't this just a New Yorker story lengthened to novel size? hmmm... was murakami just trying to write a feminist work. I dunno... analysis in some case limited by my lack of total engagement in the work.
on the plus side, I'll probably try to review Beverly Cleary some during these time-limited times