Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Review: Ryu Murakami, In the Miso Soup (1997)

In the Miso Soup reminded me quite a bit of Gil Brewer's classic A Killer Is Loose (1954). Both books are narrated by an Ordinary Guy whose fate becomes entangled with that of a Roaming Homicidal Maniac. Both Brewer and Ryu Murkami invite readers to partcipate in Ordinary Guy's attempts to make sense of Roaming Homicidal Maniac, though in the case of Murakami, there is just as much time spent with Roaming Homicidal Maniac trying to make sense of himself. And this leads to my major complaint about In the Miso Soup: I have no problem in theory with books that become increasingly ponderous as they progress, but in this case that pondorousness comes at the expense of nearly everything else. The climax of the novel, such as it is, consists of Roaming Homicidal Maniac blathering on about his life story for 25 pages or so. And that's not much of a climax. Grade: C+

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