Murakami and the Aesthetics of Imperfection

‘…this tale of two people’s struggles to escape/fulfill an unknowingly shared fate is at once absurdly fun and highly sentimental. Murakami’s voice — detached but not indifferent, sympathetic but never mawkish — comes through most clearly in that of a supporting character, a young androgyne librarian, who says to Kafka, “A certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally, I find that encouraging.” Perfect.’

From Jon Zobenica’s Atlantic review of Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

Highly Sentimental? Not the right words for Murakami’s aesthetic, although when you try to think of another phrase it isn’t easy. But with his emphasis on imperfection, Zobenica is on to something.

He’s Right: The novel is rich and strange and exceedingly wonderful. It shouldn’t work, but it does. The Murakami sensation is one of the most positive signs I’ve seen about the existence of under-served intelligent young American readers.