Haruki Murakami is a frustrating author to fall in love with. On a sentence level, he's relatively easy to read. However, his concepts are tantalizingly deep, sometimes because they are complicated but other times because he only gestures at them and asks the reader to fill in the blanks. And that's exactly what he has done in his most recent work "騎士団長殺し" ("Kishidanchō Goroshi," "Killing Commendatore"), which was published in Japan on Feb. 24.

Murakami's lexicon has evolved over the course of his career, but "Kishidanchō Goroshi" shares many phrases with 2009's "1Q84," and knowing them will ease you into this 1,048-page novel.

First, you should know that the 主人公 (shujinkō, protagonist) is a 36-year-old 画家 (gaka, painter) whose wife has asked for a divorce. The artist specialized in 抽象画 (ch̄ushōga, abstract paintings) in university but turned to 肖像画 (shōzōga, portraits) to make ends meet after graduating.