Combine an offbeat cast of characters with Murakami's idiosyncratic prose, and the result is the remarkable story Dance Dance Dance: high-class call girls billed to MasterCard, a psychic 13-year-old dropout has a passion for talking heads, and meet a hunky matinee idol doomed to play dentists and teachers.
Don't forget the one-armed beach-combing poet, an uptight hotel clerk and one very bemused narrator caught in the web of advanced capitalist mayhem.
©1988, 1994 Haruki Murakami. English Translation, Haruki Murakami (P)2016 Naxos Audiobooks
"Brilliantly combines elements of the surreal, film noir and existentialist enquiry." (Sunday Times)
"There are echoes of Raymond Chandler, John Irving and Raymond Carver, but Mr. Murakami's mysterious plots and original characters are very much his own creation." (New York Times)
Rupert Degas' voice acting is superb, and frankly with the number of speaking characters in a Murakami book, anything less than superb would not deliver the convincing portrayals that Mr Degas does. Each character is distinctly voiced and immediately recognised whenever they appear.
If you've enjoyed any of Murakami's other books, Dance Dance Dance will not disappoint, and if you haven't read/listened to any of his other books, this is as good a place to start as any. Murakami's genius is to make the extraordinary seem commonplace. Several familiar themes appear - a nameless first-person narrating protagonist who is a divorced man in his 30s, a precocious teenaged-girl, beautiful but mysterious women, intense darkness, trans-muralisation - oh and a dead cat makes a brief appearance too. All these (and more - but avoiding spoilers) woven into a compelling narrative. I read somewhere that the first thing you should do when you finish reading a Murakami novel is to start it again, and on second listening, Dance Dance Dance delivers up a wealth of detail, the significance of which was lost on me first time around. Brilliant work!
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