Killing Commendatore

Knopf. Oct. 2018. 688p. ISBN 9780525520047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780525520054. F
OrangeReviewStarRelatively early on in this latest novel from internationally renowned Murakami (IQ84), the main character states, regarding his current situation, "It was like trying to put together a puzzle that was missing some pieces." The feeling is much the same for the reader, but, in this case, putting together the pieces is delightful fun. Strange things begin to happen to our nameless narrator shortly after he moves into the home of a famous artist and stumbles upon a painting hidden in the attic. Recently divorced and with no real plans, he slowly realizes that uncovering the work may have been a mistake. As the novel unfolds, he's introduced to his Gatsby-like neighbor, begins hearing a mysterious ringing bell, finds a menacing pit in the woods, meets a precocious 13-year-old girl, and is visited by a two-foot-tall physical manifestation of an idea (more than one, actually). The connections to these events are eventually made somewhat clear as the work progresses. While readers are kept guessing at what it all means, Murakami takes his time, slyly amusing us as he goes along.
VERDICT Those familiar with the author's inventive writing will certainly devour this, as will readers seeking challenging and thoughtful fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/18.]

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