Title: Killing Commentadore
Author: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed by: JENNIFER CHEUK

Murakami can unsettle a reader in less than 10 pages. He is renowned for conjuring up bizarre and strange realities, plunging a reader into the uncanny valley with just a casual description. Murakami is a rare author, someone who can transform a mundane object into something foreign, something completely surreal. His short stories are intensive and succinct, his longer works are never stretched thin and Murakami knows no such concept as loose threads.

It is, however, deeply disappointing to say that I did not enjoy Killing Commendatore. Recursive symbols that linked Murakami’s work together were suddenly trite and worn in this novel. I found myself sighing and feeling as though I had read this novel before. It felt more like a stitched together amalgamation of his previous work rather than something new. I was really was waiting for an epiphany to happen; for some grand twist in the conclusion that I had not seen. I wanted to be the fool, to look back after finishing this novel and think, “Oh gosh! I can’t believe I thought this was disappointing when I started it!” Alas, this moment of epiphany never came. Killing Commendatore is a dragging weight on the ankle of Muarkami’s larger body of fiction.

Of course, Murakami’s standard of writing, technically, is still beautiful. But, I suppose I expected more from this novel. Murakami’s ability to weave magical surrealism into the fabric of his stories felt clumsy and unoriginal. It is unfortunate because I was really looking forward to Killing Commendatore.

If you would like an introduction to Murakami I would suggest Kafka on the Shore, or if short stories are more your taste, then The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles or The Elephant Vanishes are certainly worth the read. I would suggest not reading Killing Commendatore as an introduction to Murakami’s writing style and body of work.


JENNIFER CHEUK is an English/Communications and Linguistics major with a passion for graphic novels and sophisticated picture books.  She likes eating grated cheese and watching niche films. Can be found cartooning and writing on Instagram: @selcouthbird.


Check out more of Jennifer’s work here:

The Mixed-Race Experience: Do I Make You Uncomfortable?
Women Of Citrus: Raw, Tender, And Absolutely Funny
I am Rachel Chu: Deconstructing the Pseudo-representation of Crazy Rich Asians


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