Books, DNF, Japanese Literature

Why I DNFed Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami

Goodreads Synopsis: Almost Transparent Blue is a brutal tale of lost youth in a Japanese port town close to an American military base. Murakami’s image-intensive narrative paints a portrait of a group of friends locked in a destructive cycle of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. The novel is all but plotless, but the raw and often violent prose takes us on a rollercoaster ride through reality and hallucination, highs and lows, in which the characters and their experiences come vividly to life. Trapped in passivity, they gain neither passion nor pleasure from their adventures. Yet out of the alienation, boredom and underlying rage and grief emerges a strangely quiet and almost equally shocking beauty. Ryu Murakami’s first novel, Almost Transparent Blue won the coveted Akutagawa literary prize and became an instant bestseller. Representing a sharp and conscious turning away from the introspective trend of postwar Japanese literature, it polarized critics and public alike and soon attracted international attention as an alternative view of modern Japan.

overall feelings copy

Before I DNF Almost Transparent Blue, I had high hopes for it. I’ve never read anything by Ryu Murakami. I decided to check out his works because he was recommended to me. In addition, I was curious to see how this Ryu Murakami had a similar style to Haruki Murakami.

Honestly, I tried reading it several times throughout the summer. I couldn’t. It’s 126 pages long and I had to put it down. I wasn’t a fan of the depiction of orgies and drugs. Wow, I couldn’t get over it. I was very squeamish when I was reading. I didn’t even make it half-way through.

devastated ryan gosling.gif

Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The synopsis should have been a warning sign, but I decided not to judge the book by the synopsis. Oh, was I wrong. For every single time I tried reading, I never made it past page 40. I couldn’t. I want to take my reading experience back. Almost Transparent Blue is the first book I DNFed this year and you know what, I’m okay with it. There are some books that you can’t mentally push yourself to read. This was the book for me folks. Moral of the story: Don’t do drugs!

This gif perfectly describes my reading experience:

ryan gosling reading.gif

I would not recommend reading Almost Transparent Blue if you’re very sensitive to strong languages and the disgusting depictions of drugs and orgies. Will I pick up Almost Transparent Blue in the future? Give it a second chance? Absolutely not. Even if you bribed me with money, I couldn’t read this book. Never, ever, ever again.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Negative Five Stars)

4 thoughts on “Why I DNFed Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami”

  1. These two Murakami authors are so different. Haruki is more magical realism, existential, and all that hazy, dreamy mood and Ryu… is anything but. I’ve read three Ryu Murakami books this past month or so and I really liked them. Then again, I like the twisted WTF thrillers by Japanese authors. Ryu Murakami wrote the source material to one of my favorite horror movies, “Audition”. The others that I’ve read are “In the Miso Soup” and “Piercing” and they were equally fcked up as “Audition”. They’re very quick reads.

    I get that they’re not for everyone. His books can be very gory, shocking, disgusting, questionable. But I like that. On the surface, it’s shocking and for some, questionable, but it does touch on some interesting topics. One that stands out to me was “In the Miso Soup”, how the Japanese protagonists sees American tourists and their misconceptions about Japan.

    But hey, I haven’t read “Almost Transparent Blue” so maybe that’s the thorn out of all the roses. XD

    1. Yeah, he and the other Murakami are completely different. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when i picked Almost Transparent Blue xD

      I was surprised by all of it. Only of what I’ve read. It truly wasn’t for me, but I can see why others would like his work. The books I’ve read seem”fluffy” after reading this one. Ha ha. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone. 😂

      Thanks for your insight! I might check out Audition to see what the blurb is about, but as for his other books, hopefully in the future.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen many people make the same assumption. Their books are right beside each other at bookstores; so many times the booksellers lead me to Haruki when I’m looking for Ryu. XD

        Hahaha, it is quite shocking. While “Audition” is my favorite book from him as well as my favorite horror movie, I can’t go around recommending it to everyone. Proceed with caution and just be ready for anything if you decide to check it out.

        “In the Miso Soup” reads like an Eli Roth, “The Hostel” kind of thing, if that gives you an idea. 😉

      2. I’ve seen his books in bookstores as well and I thought they were going to be somewhat similar. Oh boy was I wrong. Ha ha

        Ooh! I see. Yeah, I’ll definitely be careful when watching the movie. Ha ha xD

        Heard of “The Hostel”! Thank you for the warnings ha ha 😂

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