This is a brand spanking new book, given to me before its UK release by a friend with connections. Ooooh. It is a fun, silly, enjoyable mid-sized novel that is basically (and I mean this less critically than it sounds) what would happen if Haruki Murakami rewrote P.S. I Love You.
Ben Constable (the character, not the author) is sent a suicide note by his friend, Tomomi Ishikawa (or Butterfly, a nickname a tad too saccharine for me). Rather than being a conventional goodbye, it instead forms the first clue in an extended treasure hunt that sees him journey from Paris to New York and back again, searching for the notebooks and artefacts she has secreted away. As he reads them, he becomes slowly aware of a whole slew of dark secrets from her past. There are cursory nods towards the exploration of mental illness, there is a faltering romance… It’s reasonably gripping, the plots works, flows, I was never bored… It’s perfectly fine, and if you’re a Murakami-addict this is probably an ideal shot of methadone to keep you going until Jay Rubin finishes translating Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It has an imaginary cat, crazy dream sequences, long sections exploring secret parts of famous cities… they go underground, they travel, there is a strong sense of internationalism and migration… It is not difficult to see the biggest influence on Constable (the author, not the character) in his work, but it is an relatively successful homage to an indisputably acclaimed novelist.
Nothing new here, but it’s fun, it’s Murakami-esque. Why not give it a go?