When I read the blurb for Sweet Tooth, the latest novel by Ian McEwan, I immediately thought that combining MI5 and spying with literature and fiction-writing had to be a perfect mix. And I was not wrong.
I do like Ian McEwan very much, though sometimes his extremely well-crafted style strikes me as a bit too polished. His characterisation is outstanding – also in this novel – but I think what this novel adds is this post-modern, meta-fictional, reader-response-type twist at the end of the novel. Pure delight.
If you’re looking for tense spy fiction, this is not it. You kind of get that almost from the first page. But if you’re looking for an intriguing story that draws you in, where you’re never really sure where you’re heading, then this is a good bet. And as I said, the last chapter is pure delight.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami is a re-write of King Oedipus, but that is far from enough to explain what kind of novel this is. Murakami is growning on me and I find his very-difficult-to-define writing style very enjoyable. While being deceptively simple – almost chatty – the style is also very precise (though not overly polished).
But writing style is not everything either. Murakami is creating a weave of often inexplicable events and relationships. And I keep getting caught up in the web. The mix of realism and the very mundane, with something that is quite similar to magical realism with a sort of dreamlike Sci-Fi edge to it, is thoroughly enjoyable. And the psychological undercurrents also blend in well.
This was a great read. I know I haven’t said much about the plot or the characterisation, but this novel is better enjoyed read than analysed.
I picked up this short biography at the airport in Tokyo and I found it very stimulating. I enjoyed Murakami’s many links between running and writing – some quite profound. I also like his no-nonsense writing style. And this book has definitely inspired me to run more!
I think anybody who is interested in either running or writing might enjoy this book, but for people who are interested in both, I definitely recommend it.