I've finally Killed Commendatore


Thoughts on KILLING COMMENDATORE by Murakami

Last night I finished KILLING COMMENDATORE by Haruki Murakami.

It’s only taken me a full year to finish it.


Mind you it is almost 800 pages, but still I’m not that slow at reading. For some reason I liked reading it in the heat. I would take a bottle of beer, preferably, or just a can of Pepsi Max (lime!) and I’d sit in the camping chair outside and read. When it became too cold I simply stopped reading and left the protagonist on top of his mountain painting his pictures. When the heat started coming back, I returned to it, vowing that I wouldn’t read anything else before I finished it.

The protagonist, whose name we never learn, is a portrait painter. His wife leaves him at the start of the novel and he is left in turmoil, with his life upended. He leaves his home and after some travel he ends up in a house on a mountain that belongs to his friend, and used to belong to the friends father, a famous Japanese painter.

The story revolves around his life there. A young girl who lives close by, and a rich man who wants to get close to the girl because he believes she may be his daughter. The story is full of magic, a magical painting, a hole in the ground, a dark magical world that seems timeless and people who aren’t people, but “ideas”. And still it is very down to earth.

It’s draws references from Don Giovanni and other things which makes the story quite complicated, and yet it it is so simple in its structure. The words flow on the page, and though I often thought that maybe they should have been a bit more ruthless while editing it, it is still a good read and leaves the you enchanted, although in my case not as enchanted as I usually am after reading one of Murakami’s books.

It felt carthartic for me, this book, and finishing it maybe doubly so. There is a theme in it that hits close to the heart and the windings the protagonists goes through on his journey to find his way back to normal life seemed to hit home.

Like so many of Murakami’s stories this is a horror story. He may not be classified as a horror writer, but that’s what he is or would be if we were inclined to push his works into genre fiction. This book bears a striking resemblance, at least in my mind, to DUMAS KEY by Stephen King. Not my favorite King book, but still high up on the list of books I very much enjoyed reading. There was something in the storytelling and the way the tension was built up around the artist that kept reminding me of DUMAS KEY.

I’d favore King’s as a book to read on the beach, but KILLING COMMENDATORE was, as always with Murakami, much worth the effort and I’m going to miss having this book to read on warm afternoons when all I want to do is just sit outside in the yard for a while with something cold to drink and something nice to read.

It feels like the end of an era, albeit not a very long one, but still a remarkable time.


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