A spider had no special skill other than building its web, and no lifestyle choice other than sitting still. It would stay in one place waiting for its prey until, in the natural course of things, it shriveled up and died. This was all genetically predetermined. The spider had no confusion, no despair, no regrets. No metaphysical doubt, no moral complications. Probably. Unlike me.
What are the first things we learn about our heroes, Tengo the aspiring writer, and Aomame the modern female ninja? What’s in their head? Not surprisingly, as this is a Murakami book, yes, sexual experience. What else?
Between writing and ‘co-writing’ novels, Tengo still has some spare time to maintain a regular hanky-panky with his older married girlfriend. After Aomame performs her business tasks, she goes to some nice bars, picks up, yes, older married guys with right-sized peckers, and has casual one night stand you-know-what. Ah, what a nice, almost spider-like life eh, Haruki sensei? And, oh yeah, all of these happened in the year 1984.
Murakami is a master storyteller, but his protagonists’ sex lives are mostly downright-porny laughable. If naming this one caveat in the Japanese top auteur’s otherwise splendid work makes us a literary blind, then so be it. Maybe we are.