Thursday, July 1, 2010

In the Miso Soup - Ryu Murakami

I came across this book at one of our book chat sessions. One of the group members had just finished reading it and was reading another of Ryu Murakami books. Someone else borrowed it from him first and when she handed it back she said she couldn't finish it because it was too tense and menacing... and that it was best not to read it at night.

I can't remember ever feeling menaced by a book... so I was looking forward to it... in a weird kinda way. I was a bit disappointed in that regard. The tension built up when Kenji, a Japanese tourist guide, began to have
suspicions about Frank's, an American toutist, true nature. There was a particularly gruesome scene in the middle of the book, which made me wary about what was going to happen in the rest of the story. I was a bit
disappointed in the end. Kenji has to work out what to do about Frank. I must say that it wasn't what I expected!

Again, my expectations of the book somewhat clouded the reading of the book. I did enjoy reading it, but was expecting to feel a certain way while I read it. I think I would be happy to try more of Murakami's work.

Kenji is a tour guide of Japan's seedy side. He gets a call from Frank, who says he's in Japan on business and would like to hire Kenji's services for 3 days up to and including New Years Eve. Kenji accepts, despite having plans with his girlfriend Jun, who is a 16 year old schoolgirl. Everything starts of normal enough. But slowly Kenji begins to feel uncomfortable with Frank. It becomes apparent that Frank has lied to him and he begins to think that maybe Frank has something to do with the murder of a school girl that had been in the news. When a homeless man is killed Kenji is convinced it is Frank who is behind it. It is with this tension that Kenji meets Frank for the second night and things take a turn for the worst. The second half of the book is dealing with Kenji's moral dilemma about what to do about it.

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