Not your average Murakami novel, that’s for sure. If you haven’t read anything written by him, I would suggest reading this one first. Because it has that reality-goes-fiction type of plot, where you can still understand the limits between the two. It has a detective side to it, but in my opinion, that’s not the real focus or driving force behind it. Nor is the apparent love story that will unfold eventually, probably right at the end, after many obstacles and people are left behind. So… what remains? Probably the action-packed, character-oriented description and story that makes up three volumes of prose. At some point, I was wondering: is it going anywhere, really? If you ask yourselves the same question, then it might not be just my imagination.

Real life is different from math. Things in life don’t necessarily flow over the shortest possible route.

What did it mean for a person to be free? she would often ask herself. Even if you managed to escape from one cage, weren’t you just in another, larger one?

At my core, there is not nothing. Neither is it a parched wasteland. At my core, there is love.

Why is that? Why can’t I love myself? It’s because I can’t love anyone else. A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else.

I’m a coward when it comes to matters of the heart. That is my fatal flaw.

Writers have to keep on writing if they want to mature, like caterpillars endlessly chewing on leaves.

To get something important, people have to pay a price. That’s the rule the world operates by.

Maybe we shouldn’t meet again. Tengo stared up at the ceiling. Wasn’t it better if they kept this desire to see each other hidden within them, and never actually got together? That way, there would always be hope in their hearts. That hope would be a small, yet vital flame that warmed them to their core – a tiny flame to cup one’s hands around and protect from the wind, a flame that the violent winds of reality might easily extinguish.

They had neither the power nor the knowledge to know what they should offer to each other, what they should be seeking. They had never, ever, been truly loved, or truly loved someone else. They had never held anyone, never been held. They had no idea, either, where this action would take them. What they entered then was a doorless room. They couldn’t get out, nor could anyone else come in. The two of them didn’t know it at the time, but this was the only truly complete place in the entire world. Totally isolated, yet the one place not tainted with loneliness.


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