Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for 69 by Ryu Murakami. Young adult.
No, not THAT Murakami, the other one. And no, not THAT 69 (get your mind out of the gutter), the title refers to the year – 1969 – in which it takes place. Having read the blurb for Murakami’s other work Coin Locker Babies I was expecting something dark from this book, but frankly it was so light it could float away. Not bad – it was quite witty at times – but I felt like it was more of a scenic look at the time and place rather than a full-blown novel (young adult or otherwise). (For what it’s worth, it appears that 1969 in Japan was identical to 1969 in America.) If you were a teenager in the 60’s, you might get a nostalgic kick out of this.
“It was around this time that I’d begun trying to perfect the art of fucking with people’s minds. I’d figured out that when someone else was hogging the limelight, you could cut him down to size by bringing up a subject he didn’t know anything about. If the other person knew a lot about literature, I’d talk about the Velvet Underground; if he knew a lot about rock, I’d talk about Messiaen; if he knew a lot about classical music, I’d talk about Roy Lichtenstein; if he knew a lot about pop art, I’d talk about Jean Genet; and so on. Do that in a small provincial city and you never lose an argument.”
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