Sometimes it's better to just give up on a book. Though it pains me to do so. I can usually finish anything right to the end (skipping if I have to) But not this one. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. It's not him, it's me, I'm sure. He's been described as 'one of the world's greatest living novelists' By the Guardian, no less. He's written oodles and noodles of books, and has legions of fans, so it really doesn't matter, but, oh crikey... Doomed love, suicide, an expensive clinic set in the mountains of Japan and endless music. What can I say? Just not my cup of tea. And...and I missed the details. It's painted with a broad stroke and if you are not Japanese, surely half the pleasure in a foreign book is in the detail. I want to know what the trains are like, what the noodles are, what the mountains are like, but that's all glossed over.... though the concentration of a certain butterfly hair slide that re-occurs with monotonous regularity made me want to scream. 'Foreign' means foreign to ME. So I want to be swept up in the very foreignness of it, if you see what I mean. I've never been to Japan, or got lost in Tokyo, or been to a bath house, but I want a book that takes me there (without being a guide book) I want a sense of the place and the people, the smells, the customs, the style and the sheer differences of being there rather than here.
So, I gave up and made a cake instead. Banana bread with rum soaked fruit and walnuts. And very delicious it was too. No pictures as my camera is on the blink, but take my word for it. Every crumb was savoured.