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Almost Transparent Blue - Ryū Murakami, Nancy Andrew I put the thin fragment of glass, dripping blood, in my pocket, and ran out into the misty road. The doors and windows of the houses were shut, nothing was moving. I thought I'd been swallowed by a huge living thing, that I was turning around and around in its stomach like the hero of some fairy tale.

Almost Transparent Blue

A warning to any potential readers of this book. There is explicit, graphic sex in the first half of this novel. If you are prudish about group sex, alternative sex, or say sex involving a foot that will be seared into your memory for the rest of your life you should avoid this novel. If you have issues with rampant drug use and drug/alcohol induced vomiting you should avoid this novel.

The first cool thing about this novel is the fact that it was published in 1976 almost a full decade before Bret Easton Ellis. In one of the two books, memory escapes me, he talks about these "soulless" creatures walking the Earth, the offspring of "Angels" and human females. They lack a soul because they are not exactly human, but they are able to assimilate with their soul carrying brethren. They lack that important part of humanity that allows us to really care about each other. I think we've all met people that resemble that description. The really scary part about accepting any of this as potentially true is that as these soulless creatures mate with other humans their offspring is also soulless. With each generation more humanity is lost.

I read Less than Zero for a second time a couple of years ago before I read [b:Imperial Bedrooms|7519866|Imperial Bedrooms |Bret Easton Ellis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1278878105s/7519866.jpg|9738038]and I thought about the Mangum concept then as well. There is something missing in these characters and of course the drug use, the promiscuous sex, random violence, alcohol induced vomiting is all an attempt to feel something, anything.

The crew goes to party with some American black men from the military base that is near where they live. Ryu is sharing a description of the scene.

I was completely stoned. I felt as if my insides were oozing out through every pore, and other people's sweat and breath were flowing in. Especially the lower half of my body felt heavy and sore, as if sunk into thick mud, and my mouth itched to hold somebody's prick and drain it. While we ate the fruit piled on plates and drank wine, the whole room was raped with heat. I wanted my skin peeled off. I wanted to take in the greased, shiny bodies of the black men and rock them inside me. Cherry cheesecake, grapes in black hands, steaming boiled crab legs breaking with a snap, clear sweet pale purple American wine, pickles like dead men's wart-covered fingers, bacon sandwiches like the mouths of women, salad dripping pink mayonnaise.

There are cockroaches that spew different colors when crushed. There is a pet rabbitcide. There is a doctor that explains to Yoshiyama, being treated for a suicide attempt, the absolute best way to kill himself next time. They ingest mescaline, acid, heroin, Hyminol, Nibrole, glue, marijuana, and something called a Crystal Ship. They don't want you looking at them, but they do everything they can to insure that you are watching.

Even moments of beauty are seen with jaded eyes.

At the edge of the wide grounds was a pool, and around it flowers were planted. Like the eruptions on a rotting corpse, like a serum with multiplying cancer cells, the flowers were blooming. Against the background of a wall that rippled like white cloth, they scattered on the ground or suddenly danced up in the wind. I'm cold, as if I were dead.

The Other Murakami

I was uncertain of this book for the first fifty pages. If I were one of those reviewers that reviews books that they don't finish I would have given it two stars, but as the book moves forward I started to begrudgingly change my mind about the book. It is hard to adjust first impressions, but the accumulation of stark images started to impress me. You may toss this book across the room a few times (hopefully not the first edition hardcover as it is becoming rather rare), but let it set for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days and then pick it back up again. This book broke ground and the imitators that came later don't measure up.