In terms of creative vision, Killing Commendatore certainly represents one of the most ambitious new works of literary fiction in recent years. Describing the novel in its jacket copy as “a loving homage to The Great Gatsby,” Haruki Murakami uses the opportunity to explore this canonical text as a genuine point of critical and creative departure. If Gatsby, as T. S. Eliot once noted, represents the first step forward the American novel took since Henry James (Wilson 310), then Killing Commendatore may also in years to come represent a major step forward for the twenty-first-century novel in realizing its own artistic potential. Yet the relationship of Killing Commendatore to Gatsby is neither so cosmetic in terms of a simple transplantation of plot nor narrowly derivative in any obvious attempt to imitate the quality of Fitzgerald's prose. Over the course of 700 pages, Murakami draws a contemporary Japanese scene...

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