69 is Ryu Murakami’s homage to 1969, the year of student riots in Japan, to the sixties culture in general and to adolescence. I found it a very engaging and funny read (it made me laugh out loud, which I rarely do when reading a book), not least because so much of one’s own life is recognisable and I’m now of an age when I can laugh at my own adolescence. Needless to say, it is most unlike Murakami’s other books, lacking, as it does, the violence and amorality of Inthe Miso Soup and Audition, but it is a book in whose company an afternoon would be well spent.


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