For the last week I have been reading Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes. And again I have encountered something that I call the Murakami syndrom: I start reading his books, regardless whether they are novels or short stories, with great interest and at a great speed. And then something strange happens: I slow down, start looking around and picking up other books to read, and finally I am forcing myself to finish the book at hand. This is very curious to me as theoretically Murakami seems a perfect fiction writer for me – everything in his world agrees with me emotionally: the unreality of reality, zen simplicity, lack of hurry, prolonged ennui of some of the characters etc. And yet something slows me down in reading his fiction – sometimes bringing me to a complete halt. For example, with his latest huge novel: 1Q84 – part one and two went down like a flash – in about less than a week the 600 more or less pages were read. And this was last April. The third part I’ve been reading since summer till now, and I am still not done – my Kindle shows that I have read about 70% of it – but it has felt like a chore. And now with The Elephant Vanishes – the same is beginning to happen. I sort of drift away from that book – like I did from 1Q84 and two other novels by Murakami. And when I start reading – it is really interesting and feels good – I just lose the motivation to finish the book somewhere around the middle. I really wonder why.