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Killing Commendatore

Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 28 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (104 ratings)

Non-member price: $42.54

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, read by Kirby Heyborne.

The epic new novel from the internationally acclaimed and best-selling author of 1Q84.

In Killing Commendatore, a 30-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a strange painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious 13-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors.

A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art - as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby - Killing Commendatore is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.

Please note: new audio available as of November 2018.

©2018 Haruki Murakami (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

You have to love Murakami to finish it!

I have listened and read six of Murakami's books in the last two months and this I enjoyed the least.
While I enjoy the clarity of the narrative, this story digresses and wanders off like lost wounded soldier. It is the first book I forced myself to get to the end because I believed the author would surprise me. He did not. This story could have been written in a third of the book. Again, here he works with very similar characters to build plot and uses similar settings to cross realities (places I like to go with him), but this attempt was far too predictable. Also, his obsession with young women and their budding sensuality does not ad to the story. On the contrary.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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very slow story

this book was a challenge to finish and was read in a very monotonous voice. ended well though but detail was tedious but necessary. persevere if you take this one on, it's worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ST
  • 26-07-2019

Another great novel from the master

I love Murakami and he delivered the goods here. Like much of his writing, it's kinda like a room with all the furniture removed, and only the bare essentials left. It's not his absolutely finest work, but it's a strong entry to his impressive collection of works.

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What's going on in the author's mind?

I thought the story was interesting and I particularly liked the art references. However, I found the author's constant reference to a 13 year old girl's breasts very disturbing. The dialogue between the main protagonist and the girl was so unrealistic and very much came across as an excuse for the author to talk about a child's breasts, or at least the growth and development of them. It was super disturbing and brought the reader out of the story and wondering what an earth was going on in the author's mind.

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A tour de force

Murakami presents a vivid story set mostly in seclusion in the Udawara mountains. An artist separates from his wife and takes up residence in his art school friend's father's house as a kind of caretaker. Across the valley, a relatively short distance as the crow flies, but a long and winding route by road, lies the house of the mysterious Mr Menshiki. Killing Commendatore is in part, a homage to The Great Gatsby. Within this close proximity, but isolated by both terrain and the human heart, Killing Commendatore's characters dance together in the twilight of reality as only Murakami can depict. A meditation on interconnectedness, synchronicity, and art: Killing Commendatore is a wonderfully thoughtful and very human story

Kirby Heyborne does a fantastic job at narrating the novel. His characters are distinct and vivid, but not abrasive to listen to. Flawless

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Sensational.

Second Murakami book I have listened to and thoroughly enjoyed both. Great narrator as well.

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  • Robyn Allan
  • Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 20-06-2019

Hypnotic, weird and so Murakami

I read a lot of Murakami 20 years ago and loved them. I have just listened to 2 of his books after a long time and I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on... I'm not loving his portrayal of women or sex these days....though I suspect he's always been the same. It's me that's changed. What I do love is that he weaves some kind of hypnotic magic in his stories and I remember the feel of them long after I've finished reading or listening to them. I also love the magical qualities he weaves through all his stories.

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Prepubescent breast obsession

Why the constant breast descriptions?
Otherwise fine.
Could have been 200 pages shorter
Interesting themes

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Masterful. Great narrator as well.

loved this book. Murakami is my favourite writer. I like this narrator because he doesn't rush through the material as some others do.

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Perfect!

Wonderful narrator and a magical evocative story, I couldn’t stop listening to it! Highly recommended!

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  • C. Hanratty
  • 27-11-2018

Disappointing

This newest novel from Murakami is a bit of a slog. There’s a kind of a dance that’s happening between this story and The Great Gatsby, alongside the references to various operas, Japanese stories and so on. Unfortunately it doesn’t come to much, and the author comes across as more interested in young women’s breasts than anything else.

The narration is alright, although words in Japanese, German, French and other languages are very poorly pronounced throughout. This is very poor for someone reading a Japanese novel. Do your homework!

At 28 hours, it is a big commitment - one I doubt I’d recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-03-2019

Interesting and enjoyable read

I am a big Murakami fan — I have read all his books. This one like many others of his, centres around a recently divorced man, a loner who loves jazz and classical music, and cooking pasta. It also has many references to his previous books such as “colourless” character, etc. I am, however, willing to ignore such repetitions for “Killing Commendatore” offers an interesting set of new characters — a miniature commendatore and a sartorial millionaire. I enjoyed this book and found it quite hard to put down.

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  • Hallvard M�ller
  • 30-11-2018

Utterky boring

Murakami seems to have lost it. Starting around 1Q84, his novels lack direction and are drowned in words.

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  • Kanterla
  • 24-11-2018

Struggling to get through this one...

I do like Murakami's books in general, but this one is far too slow to get going. It also feels like a bit of a re-hash of old ideas, with themes from other novels appearing in this one. And therefore, the appearance of the commendatore isn't really that much of a surprise.

The narrator here doesn't add much to the story. It sometimes feels like listening to someone reading aloud from a non-fiction book....

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • MR C K GRAHAM
  • 15-11-2018

Great for a Murakami virgin

To be fair, all of the reviews I have read this far have been on the nose. Murakami has not really tapped into anything new here, most of this is classic and trademark his style. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, especially if you are new to Murakami, but it would have been fun to read something totally different.

I was sucked in to the story, it kept me wanting more, even though for most of the time nothing was even happening. This could be down to the fantastic narration, or perhaps the depth of the characters. My favourite being Mr Mancheeki (spelling?) who I think gets a hard time in this book.

Positives: kept me wanting more, excellent narration, descriptive and trippy.
Negatives: is it just me? Or does anyone else feel a bit uncomfortable when Murakami writes about prepubescent girls in this way?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Solaire
  • 11-11-2018

Good but deja-vu

I liked it and Kirby Heybourne is a top narrator. However... if you're a Murakami fan it may feel like a remix of previous works. There are themes that he has explored before. I suspect if it was my first Murakami novel I may have enjoyed it more.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Nic
  • 18-12-2018

a complex and unfolding storyline

I love Murakami and his stories. Gotta stick with this one, but it's beautifully written

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Vertigo
  • 11-11-2018

It's a bit like a computer algorithm wrote it.

I love the general atmosphere of Murakami worlds and am generally quite happy to just cruise around his stream of consciousness for a few hundred pages, but this story, sadly for me, didn't offer anything new or original that hadn't been already explored in his other stories. Little magic people, other worlds opening up, young mysterious girls, a solo guy who can cook and likes jazz and classical music - it really was like someone fed all of Murakami's past work into a new AI novelist program and this is what it came up with. Lots of great scenes and interesting characters and fun tangents as usual, but I don't find I care that much what happens as we approach the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Y. Mim
  • 10-11-2018

All Murakami is wonderful, but this is not Murakami at his best.

I’ve read or listened to all of Murakami’s novels. Immediately I was struck in hearing this one by odd linguistic anomalies, awkward word choices, jarring language usages. So I checked translators. Indeed, Killing Commendatore has been translated by someone who has not translated the author before. He’s done a clunky job, so poor than even someone who doesn’t read Japanese, as I don’t, can tell. Don’t judge the master by this example.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 06-11-2018

intriguing - the revelation wasn't in the story

You can't dismiss Murakami - nobody else quite weaves reality and 'reality' as well as he does.

But for me by far the biggest revelation after 28+ hours of being drawn into the Japanese male gaze is how fortunate I am not to be a Japanese woman!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nibor
  • 29-11-2018

Usual Murakami but

Why is there always a 13 yo girl obsessed with her breasts?? Enough already. Who is really obsessed with 13 yo breasts?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Lorna
  • 18-11-2018

His best yet

I’ve read/listened to all of Haruki Murakami’s novels now.
I really loved Kafka on the Shore and though I enjoyed The Wind Up Bird Chronicles and the others, I doubted it could be improved upon. Then I read IQ84 and was proved wrong! Surely he couldn’t top that?
Well remarkably he has. This one is even more enthralling, with even more fascinating characters and subtle psychological adventures. I adore the simultaneous tranquility and excitement that only Murakami can achieve.
Spectacular.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Graham G.
  • 24-10-2018

A great story...

Classic Murakami that just doesn't disappoint in any way. Stunningly good narration by Kirby Heyborne.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful