A.C.T has just finished reading.....
My first crack at a Haruki Murakami novel was the precursor to this one called A wild sheep chase. I'd barely finished reading it when I felt totally compelled to read the next one. I don't think I've ever thought about a book so much after I've finished reading one.
The story is about a nameless character who goes in search of an ex-girlfriend 'Kiki' who vanishes without a trace. Along the way he is drawn to the mysterious Dolphin Hotel and encounters various strange and interesting characters; the sheep man, a one armed poet, a depressed 13 year old girl with psychic powers and a prostitute who is murdered. Set in Japan, it's got all the elements of a perfect novel. It's funny, touching and imaginative. The images are so vivid you want to touch them and the characters are so likeable you want to know them.
I was almost tempted to pick up another of his novels after reading this one but I loved the story so much I didn't want it to be tainted by something too similar. I don't think there's any chance of that happening with Chuck Palahniuk's Choke about a sex addict who pretends to choke on food in restaurants to get money. It certainly won't be pleasant, but those vivid images of Tokyo won't go away that easily.