South of the Border, West of the Sun Epub á the

South of the Border, West of the Sun Epub á the
    South of the Border, West of the Sun Epub á the apart, seemingly for goodNow, facing middle age, finally content after years of aimlessness, Hajime is a successful nightclub owner, a husband and father, when he suddenly is reunited with Shimamoto, propelled into the mysteries of her life, and confronted by dark secrets she is loath to reveal And so, reckless with enchantment and lust, Hajime prepares to risk everything in order to consummate his first love, and to experience a life he s dreamed of but never had a chance to realize Bittersweet, passionate, and ultimately redemptive, South of the Border, West of the Sun is an intricate examination of desire, illuminating the persistent power of childhood and memory in matters of the heart From the Hardcover edition."/>
  • Kindle Edition
  • 224 pages
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun
  • Haruki Murakami
  • English
  • 10 March 2017

South of the Border, West of the Sun[PDF] ✩ South of the Border, West of the Sun By Haruki Murakami – Essayreview.co.uk Following the massive complexity of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami s best selling, award winning novel comes this deceptively simple love story, a contemporary rendering of the romance in Following the massive complexity of the Border, PDF Ì The Wind Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami s best selling, award winning novel comes this deceptively simple love story, a contemporary rendering of the romance in which a boy South of Epub / finds and then loses a girl, only to meet her again years laterHajime Beginning in Japanese was an atypical only child growing up in a conventional middle class suburb Shimamoto, herself an only child, was of the Border, Epub Ú cool and self possessed, precocious in the extreme After school these childhood sweethearts would listen to records, hold hands, and talk about their future Then, despite themselves, in the way peculiar to adolescents, they grew apart, seemingly for goodNow, facing middle age, finally content after years of aimlessness, Hajime is a successful nightclub owner, a husband and father, when he suddenly is reunited with Shimamoto, propelled into the mysteries of her life, and confronted by dark secrets she is loath to reveal And so, reckless with enchantment and lust, Hajime prepares to risk everything in order to consummate his first love, and to experience a life he s dreamed of but never had a chance to realize Bittersweet, passionate, and ultimately redemptive, South of the Border, West of the Sun is an intricate examination of desire, illuminating the persistent power of childhood and memory in matters of the heart From the Hardcover edition.


About the Author: Haruki Murakami

Murakami Haruki Japanese is a the Border, PDF Ì popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator His work has been described aseasily accessible, yet profoundly complexHe can be located on Facebook at childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by South of Epub / Western culture, particularly Western music and literature He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by of the Border, Epub Ú his Western influencesMurakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened the coffeehousePeter Catwhich was a jazz bar in the evening in Kokubunji, Tokyo with his wifeMany of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up The Wind Up Bird Chronicle The Thieving Magpie after Rossini s opera , Bird as Prophet after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as The Prophet Bird , and The Bird Catcher a character in Mozart s opera The Magic Flute Some of his novels take their titles from songs Dance, Dance, Dance after The Dells song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune , Norwegian Wood after The Beatles song and South of the Border, West of the Sun the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole.


10 thoughts on “South of the Border, West of the Sun

  1. says:

    Whatever Murakami book I am reading, I find myself stepping back into the same world as before, with all of the same characters and themes of wells and transience and strangely poignant details like gold lighters and classical music records and the myriad spaghetti dinners the mundane details of everyday life spun into a dreamy tapestry The fact that every Murakami book I read seems to feel the same is a good thing in this author s case His tone is something quite distinct Every time I read Whatever Murakami book I am reading, I find myself stepping back into the same world as before, with all of the same characters and themes of wells and transience and strangely poignant details like gold lighters and classical music records and the myriad spaghetti dinners the mundane details of everyday life spun into a dreamy tapestry The fact that every Murakami book I read seems to feel the same is a good thing in this author s case His tone is something quite distinct Every time I read him I feel I m wrapping myself in a wispy cocoon of emotions and floating once again in that wistful introspection, melancholy, disassociation Nothing is permanent Murakami captures Mono no aware amid the frenetic modern day Tokyo His world is surreal and yet also emotionally filling a perfectly imperceptible blend of fantasy and the real The voice of the narrator is always the same, delving with an endearing, compelling introspection into the deep well of his psyche, and always doing so amid a rising urgency in a race against time and the dissolution of the form of things in a race against some phantom clock whose measure only the most sensitive can grasp and whose ticking threatens that all might be swept away with the next gust of wind The sense of time in these novels is always strangely skewed we are following a character for some time in a day to day mode, wherein a particular depth of thought suddenly holds us in mid air, and suddenly we are jumping fifteen years, only to find the characters still dwelling in the past as though it were yesterday Murakami achieves illusory momentums that give way to long bouts of ruminating stillness Finishing the novel is like waking from a dream where you ve justyes you ve just learned something

  2. says:

    A Companion IntervenesI re read South of the Border immediately after re reading Norwegian Wood , as part of my training regime for Murakami s 1Q84.Although they were written five years apart and were separated by Dance Dance Dance , they are good companion pieces.They stand out from Murakami s other novels because they explore love and its consequences almost exclusively.Although some things and events go unexplained, there is little of the surrealism and absurdity that characterizes mos A Companion IntervenesI re read South of the Border immediately after re reading Norwegian Wood , as part of my training regime for Murakami s 1Q84.Although they were written five years apart and were separated by Dance Dance Dance , they are good companion pieces.They stand out from Murakami s other novels because they explore love and its consequences almost exclusively.Although some things and events go unexplained, there is little of the surrealism and absurdity that characterizes most of his other works.Strangely, whereas Norwegian Wood concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about relationships in his late teens, South of the Border concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about a relationship that originally started and finished before he turned 13, so he was not yet a teenager.While the protagonist in Norwegian Wood seemed to get his girl or one of them at the end, there was some doubt in my mind whether the relationship had lasted until the time of narration.In South of the Border , the intervening period has brought the protagonist, Hajime, a permanent relationship, marriage, parenthood and business and financial success However, his apparent contentment and happiness is jeopardized by the intervention of Shimamoto, his girlfriend from the age of 12.The Bond of Only nessThe first quarter of the novel is a relatively straightforward narration of Hajime s first 30 years.He is born in January, 1951 which makes him almost exactly two years younger than Murakami himself.He is an only child, as is Shimamoto He detests the term only child , because it implies he is missing something, as if he is an incomplete human being, yet somehow spoiled, weak and self centred as well.Hajime is not just interested in Shimamoto because neither of them has any siblings, he s fascinated by the fact that her left leg is slightly lame, yet she never whines or complains.Nobody else at school finds her as striking or charming as him, even though he recognizes that she has not yet developed an outer gorgeousness to match her inner qualities.So while they develop a deep relationship, she wraps herself in a protective shell that separates her from other students.Unfortunately, the relationship comes to an end the year after when they go to different junior high schools.Relatively UnfaithfulHajime gets on with life, even getting another girlfriend, Izumi, who he thinks is cute, even if she isn t conventionally pretty.She is the oldest of three children, though still sensitive enough at 16 to be able to say, I m scared These days I feel like a snail without a shell Yet as much as she tries her best to give Hajime all she can, she is destined to make him realize his capacity for hurtI didn t understand thenthat I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair Just after Hajime s 18th birthday, he is preparing to start four years of college in Tokyo, which effectively spells the end of the relationship.However, it ends on even worse terms, when Izumi discovers that he has been having a passionate affair with her cousin, while she has been deferring a sexual relationship with him.At 37, he learns that his betrayal permanently damaged her, so much so that she lives a life of isolation in an apartment block where all of the children are afraid of her.He has ruined her life.So ultimately the novel is concerned with the hurt we cause in the pursuit of our own needs and illusions.A Lame Excuse for StalkingDespite his capacity for hurt, Hajime has a sympathy for outsiders, non conformists who don t quite fit in.It reveals itself in his attraction to women who are lame, of whom there are several in the novel.Just before he meets his future wife, Yukiko, when he is 28, he sees an elegant woman limping in the street.He follows her for some time, wondering whether it is Shimamoto, until she enters a caf , from where she phones someone for support.The man who comes to her aid demands that he leave her alone and gives him an envelope with a large amount of money in it.Meanwhile, the woman makes her escape in a cab, ramping up the mystery about her identity.He can t believe his luck Why did this happen Did it really happen at all What does it all mean If not for the envelope, proof that something must have happened, it would have continued to be a riddle,a delusion from start to finish, a fantasy I d cooked up in my head, a very long, realistic dream that somehow I d mixed up with reality .For Hajime, as long as he has the envelope, it means that this whole event actually occurred, that his quest was real and not an illusion.Everything Falls Into PlaceAt 30, Hajime marries Yukiko, after which they have two daughters and he establishes two jazz bars one of which is called the Robin s Nest and the other we know only as my other bar at the prompting of his father in law.Up to this point, Hajime has been relatively faithful, apart from a few flings when Yukiko was pregnant , relationships that he seems to excuse in the same manner that his father in law justifies his own affairs they allow him to let off steam and actually reinforce the primacy of marriage.So much, so normal.He seems to have developed a knack for stopping just short of being self destructive.Until one day his success results in some magazine coverage that reunites him with old school friends who trigger a sense of nostalgia for his past relationships.And with this nostalgia comes Shimamoto.Hollow InsideEnough of the plot, I want to explore some of the metaphors.To all intents and purposes, Hajime has been happy in his marriageI could not imagine a happier life However, the emergence of Shimamoto makes him realize that he has been harbouring feelings about his past with herEverything disappears some day Like this barThings that have form will all disappear But certain feelings stay with us forever To which Shimamoto respondsBut you know, Hajime, some feelings cause us pain because they remain To this extent, she has a better insight into Hajime than he does himself.Holding onto the past can create a darkness inside us that is destined to hurt not just ourselves, but those around us.By the end of the chapter, he is looking into the mirror, confronting the fact that he has become a liar, that there is something dark inside himFor the first time in a long while, I looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror Those eyes told me nothing about who I was It s an existential crisis of sorts, he is on the boundary of sanity and madnessIf I never see her again, I will go insane Once she got out of the car and was gone, my world was suddenly hollow and meaningless To the extent that Shimamoto is a twin of himself who completes the one person, she has gone missing and he is once again incomplete.Missing Persons, Minding the GapSo what to do about his hollowness and yearning Hajime falls in love with the idea that he and Shimamoto were star crossed lovers who were simply born under a bad sign, whose love originally perished under an unlucky star, but can be revivedYou could say I m happy Yet I ve known ever since I met you again that something is missing The important question is what is missing Something s lacking In me and my life And that part of me is always hungry, always thirsting Neither my wife nor my children can fill that gap In the whole world, there s only one person who can do that You He wants to overcome his hollowness by filling in the 25 year gap since they last saw each otherIt s strange, she said, You want to fill in that blank space of time, but I want to keep it all blank As Hajime swings between sanity and insanity, Shimamoto disappears and reappears.Indeed, the reverse is also true as Shimamoto disappears and reappears, Hajime swings between sanity and insanity.She is both the focus of his sanity and the cause of his insanity.She keeps his hopes alive with the promise that they will probably see each other in a while.Gradually, he realizes he has to do something about it, he has to account to his wife, Yukiko.Only it doesn t come easilyI was struck by a violent desire to confess everything What a relief that would be Nohiding, noneed to playact or to lieBut I didn t say anything Confession would serve no purpose It would only make us miserable So the fear of misery justifies the continued deceit.South of the Border, West of the SunThe title of the novel is a lyric from a song played by Nat King Cole.Both Hajime and Shimamoto had romanticized what might lie south of the border.She thinks it is something beautiful, big and soft , only to discover when she grows up that all it refers to is Mexico.So they realize that all of their romanticism is misplaced, it s a fabrication.Similarly, west of the sun describes a medical condition called hysteria syberiana , which affects farmers in Siberia.After months of exposure to the harsh winter, they sometimes head off in search of some land west of the sunLike someone possessed, you walk on, day after day, not eating or drinking, until you collapse on the ground and dieThey succumb to their illusions and eventually die, because they fail to take care of reality.So eventually Hajime realizes that Shimamoto is a distraction, perhaps even an illusion, that he must turn away fromI would never see her again, except in memory She was here and now she s gone There is no middle ground Probably is a word you may find south of the border But never, ever, west of the sunAt the same time, he realizes that the envelope has goneI should have thrown that money away when I first got it Keeping it was a mistake To quote Shimamoto, some feelings cause us pain because they remain The envelope had to go, just as his feelings for her had to go.Though there is a lingering doubt as to whether the envelope was ever real.So ultimately we are forced to question whether the return of Shimamoto actually occurred or whether it was a fabrication of a mind that had gone lame.Did Hajime s self delusion, his existential crisis, develop into a full on nervous breakdown, his own version of hysteria syberiana Did he just make it all up Was it justa very long, realistic dream that somehow I d mixed up with realityRain in the Desert, Rain on the Sea Murakami also uses the metaphor of a desert which appears to be lifeless until it rains, when the dormant life revives and blossoms.Hajime s obsession with a relationship from the past transforms his marriage into a desert.The darkness of his self delusion sucks all of the life out of the reality of his relationship and his parenthood.Yet Hajime can t sort it out from within his delusion.So, in a way, Yukiko wins back their marriage with almost superhuman patience and insight and persistence.She has to rain on the desert of their relationship.Yet her effort isn t so much superhuman as quintessentially human.She reveals that she too has had needs and gaps that she wanted to fill, that Hajime has ignored her needs and vulnerability, that he has been selfish to think he is the only one to have suffered from a hollowness.Throughout the novel, the presence of Shimamoto is associated with rain or water, like some noir pulp fiction.However, just as rain forces us inside to keep dry, it is also a source of water that revives life South of the Border finishes with Hajime contemplating a sea with rain falling on it.Murakami is typically ambiguous.There might be a sense in which rain on the ocean cannot revive dormant life, that the sea remains lifeless or unaffected beneath the surface, that it simply can t see that it is being replenished.However, the ocean might also be a sea of possibilities, it is full of life and Hajime simply has to make a choice so that the rain can make a difference.While Hajime contemplates all this, Yukiko comes and rests a hand lightly on his shoulder.We get the sense that the two of them have together made a choice, that the new life beginning tomorrow that they have promised each other might just happen.So whether or not the reappearance of Shimamoto was real or an illusion, she was the trigger for Hajime to realize that his marriage was the real thing and that he didn t need to seek something else South of the Border, West of the Sun.It s a lesson both to be with the one you love, and to love the one you re with, because they are usually, and should be, the same person

  3. says:

    The other night a friend mentioned she is reading 1Q84 at the moment and it got me all nostalgic for a Murakami experience So choosing one at random of the ever diminishing list of Murakami s I haven t read yet I chose South of the Border, West of the Sun.What do you get Unsurprisingly a story that is Murakami There is an every man protagonist, mysterious lady from the past, jazz, university protests, people with deformities I could go on or just use the Murakami Bingo Desipite being The other night a friend mentioned she is reading 1Q84 at the moment and it got me all nostalgic for a Murakami experience So choosing one at random of the ever diminishing list of Murakami s I haven t read yet I chose South of the Border, West of the Sun.What do you get Unsurprisingly a story that is Murakami There is an every man protagonist, mysterious lady from the past, jazz, university protests, people with deformities I could go on or just use the Murakami Bingo Desipite being so Murakami that it could have been achieved via a cut paste exercise from his other novels I still enjoyed it I just love Murakami Plot wise it most reminds me of Norwegian Wood , especially that it has no weird story elements It s just a straight our universe no funny business at all Murakami Indeed reading it I thought of it as a proto Norwegian Wood, like a practice piece But looking at his Wikipedia page I see that he wrote it two novels after Norwegian Wood Oh well So overall this was a likeable read, but probably only recommended for fans who have read the major works The others offer so much

  4. says:

    At first I dislike this book but now I am confident to say that I hate it It s about this shallow and whiny man who wronged every women he put his hand on probably because he is so deep, no one can understand him since he s the only child, yes, you gotta remember how painful it is for this Hajime guy to be the only child except his childhood sweetheart who is so deep that she never has a real personality but some random emo appeal which cannot make me care less The author tried so hard bu At first I dislike this book but now I am confident to say that I hate it It s about this shallow and whiny man who wronged every women he put his hand on probably because he is so deep, no one can understand him since he s the only child, yes, you gotta remember how painful it is for this Hajime guy to be the only child except his childhood sweetheart who is so deep that she never has a real personality but some random emo appeal which cannot make me care less The author tried so hard but she turned out to be a sphinx without a secret Meanwhile our hero remains an emo for the rest of the book, and maybe the rest of his life He s got everything he wants but he cannot stop complaining and fancying about that girl whom he had a crush on, yet never actually knows Did I mention she s the only child also Years after they collided in some cliche fashion the rain, the bar, some cocktails and jazz music playing and OMFG she s so mysterious They made love yeah how unpredictable and then she disappeared because the book would be deep if it s an unhappy one, and then the guy was like WTF happened was that all a dream because the money is gone yeah if you have read then you know I mean what money but no it was real and he came back to his poor wife And his wife is the only likeable character out there.The writing is just okay and readable If you have read a lot you should probably not regard Murakami as those authors who offer the most beautiful prose out there This look like a second attempt of Murakami after the success of Norwegian Wood which is an emo saga to me Seriously he should stop abusing pop culture references

  5. says:

    Kokky no minami, Taiy no nishi South of the border, west of the sun, Haruki Murakami South of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami Publication date 1992 The novel tells the story of Hajime, starting from his childhood in a small town in Japan Here he meets a girl, Shimamoto, who is also an only child and suffers from polio, which causes her to drag her leg as she walks They spend most of their time together talking about their interests in life Kokky no minami, Taiy no nishi South of the border, west of the sun, Haruki Murakami South of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami Publication date 1992 The novel tells the story of Hajime, starting from his childhood in a small town in Japan Here he meets a girl, Shimamoto, who is also an only child and suffers from polio, which causes her to drag her leg as she walks They spend most of their time together talking about their interests in life and listening to records on Shimamoto s stereo Eventually, they join different high schools and grow apart They are reunited again at the age of 36, Hajime now the father of two children and owner of two successful jazz bars in Aoyama, the trendy part of Tokyo 2016 1393 179 9786009423033 20 1394 272 9786007061091

  6. says:

    I never fail to be impressed by the way Murakami captures mood and feelings Even in his less fantastic novels, of which this is one, he draws you into a world that is all his, and so full of possibilities and connections that you feel you could grasp them if you reached out Except you don t, because in Murakami s universe it s easier to stay put and wait than to get actively involved It s about memories and reminiscences, about wishes and alternate realities, and if you were to reach out and I never fail to be impressed by the way Murakami captures mood and feelings Even in his less fantastic novels, of which this is one, he draws you into a world that is all his, and so full of possibilities and connections that you feel you could grasp them if you reached out Except you don t, because in Murakami s universe it s easier to stay put and wait than to get actively involved It s about memories and reminiscences, about wishes and alternate realities, and if you were to reach out and touch anything, you would break the carefully crafted atmosphere, leaving nothing but some loner s neurotic ramblings about the things he should have done but sadly never did You wouldn t want to do that, now would you South of the Border, West of the Sun is set in a familiar Murakami landscape where lonely men listen to jazz and classical music, get obsessed with mysterious women with death in their eyes, and crave a connection with just one fellow soul This time around, the protagonist is Hajime, a man in his late thirties who seems to be going through a bit of a mid life crisis Reasonably happily married and the successful owner of two jazz bars, Hajime seems to have it all, except for two things he can t really connect to anyone, and he is haunted by memories of the women he has wronged Most of all, he is haunted by the memory of his childhood friend Shimamoto, the only person in his life to whom he has ever been close, but of whom he lost sight at age twelve And then Shimamoto suddenly reappears in his life, tempting him with promises of closeness and understanding and confusing him profoundly As stories of mid life crises and marital infidelity go, this one is nothing out of the ordinary It follows Hajime through his obsession with Shimamoto and his insecurities, regrets and justifications, leading him all the way to some modicum of self discovery So far, so generic adultery novel What sets the book apart from countless other such books is its mood Like other Murakami books, South of the Border, West of the Sun is a mood piece It has a dreamlike, timeless quality, a mellow intensity, and a jazz and rain fuelled melancholy which occasionally drips off the pages It evokes loneliness and obsession in a way few other authors manage to evoke them It s like being submerged in a bath of longing and nostalgia, and I, for one, really enjoy that sort of thing There s something quite cathartic about it.Much has been said about Hajime, the protagonist of South of the Border Like many Murakami characters, Hajime is not an action hero he spends most of the book waiting for fate to deal him a lucky card, and when he finally gets it, he doesn t really know what to do with it Nor does he seem to notice that the cards he was initially dealt were actually quite good He is a dreamer and a drifter, floating through a world in which he doesn t seem properly anchored, feeling rather than observing, longing rather than acting He is haunted by memories and wallows in his own mistakes without having the guts to address them He is not necessarily the world s most attractive protagonist, but all the same it is interesting watching the world through his eyes, sensing his guilt and sharing his cravings And if he doesn t seem to be all that different from countless other Murakami protagonists, well, so be it That s Murakami for you writing the same story featuring the same protagonist over and over again, but in a way which keeps you coming back for .As for Murakami s refusal to tie up the loose ends in this book, which seems to baffle certain reviewers, I like that I like that we never find out exactly what Shimamoto has been up to for all these years I like that her disappearance remains unexplained I even like the fact that we never find out her first name Hajime keeps calling her by her family name, even when they are having sex It adds an air of detachment and mystery to the novel, which in turn just adds to its dreamlike quality It allows you to fill in the blanks yourself, and at the end of the day, that is what I like most about good fiction its ability to make you fantasise and write parts of the story yourself Maybe that s why I like Murakami so much he draws me into brilliant moodscapes and leaves me there, thinking, feeling, wondering what I would do in a given position Sometimes I wish I never had to leave his world, but alas, even the best jazz gets tedious after a while

  7. says:

    Lost loves and existential romance haunt in what was for Murakami a tender and mellowed out novel, which oddly still had a gripping edge to it, but I can t pinpoint exactly why Maybe it s simply down to the fact this is Murakami, and here, even though the story is a simple one, I never truly felt in the comfort zone, like there was an underlying menace, and that something unexpected was going to happen at any moment.He loves a good sex scene does Murakami, and they can be found here also, but a Lost loves and existential romance haunt in what was for Murakami a tender and mellowed out novel, which oddly still had a gripping edge to it, but I can t pinpoint exactly why Maybe it s simply down to the fact this is Murakami, and here, even though the story is a simple one, I never truly felt in the comfort zone, like there was an underlying menace, and that something unexpected was going to happen at any moment.He loves a good sex scene does Murakami, and they can be found here also, but at least here his eroticism feels like it s in the right place and at the right time, and not crawling out of the woodwork at the oddest of moments like he has done before He leaves his Kafkaesque side behind here, with no strange happenings or talking cats, but there are other Murakami trademarks like whisky and jazz that feel right at home In a nutshell, this is the tale of obsessive attraction told with a quiet psychological power The central figure is Hajime, born, as he tells us on the first page, early in the second half of the 20th century, he is your average person from a typical family He is, in other words, part of the regeneration that repopulated Japan after World War II, and never experienced any real hardships Typical Japanese families has several children, but Hajime is an only child, and that bothers him as people assume he must therefore be spoiled and self centered In his lonely world Hajime only one true friend, a girl named Shimamoto, who is also an only child, and they click really well After moving away he soon stops seeing Shimamoto until many years later after he is settled into family life with wife and kids But in her unobtrusive way, she has stolen into his being, such that no other person can ever be fully meaningful to him He has experiences with other women, including a high school sweetheart named Izumi, but Shimamoto is always present at the back of his mind Then out of nowhere Shimamoto comes back into his life, after they had parted as 12 year olds She is as beautiful as Hajime had imagined, but with the passing of time something has changed, and she is gripped by a dark power about which she says nothing The novel then shifts tonally and consists of their strange obsessive attraction, and the ineffable meaning that each has for the other.One of the skills with this novel, is that Murakami creates a vague sense of perilousness as his characters go about their business This is for the most part down to the psychological fragility that is the book s motif There are deep cracks in the shells that each character lives within.It is as if these lives can be fatally wounded with the slightest mistake, and, given the weakness and self centered nature that is embedded in Hajime s core, the danger of that is always lurking close by Like other Murakami novels I have read, it feels like there is an invisible force or mysterious power running through the pages, that compels his characters to the very harmful acts that will end up ruining them I have to say, I didn t particularly think of Hajime as a likeable person, but I can at least understand some of his actions He still loved his wife, he still loved his children, but without Shimamoto something was always missing Murakami s narrative style here is as spare and unornamented as a traditional Japanese room, and it s a stripped back style that suited the novel really well A delicate and affecting work, and certainly one of Murakami srealistic novels, but it s one that I still found had a dreamy quality to it

  8. says:

    ..the sad truth is that certain types of things can t go backward Once they start going forward, no matter what you do, they can t go back the way they were If even one little thing goes awry, then that s how it will stay foreverSouth of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Haruki Murakami Here, we read the story of one Hajime s journey from childhood to middle age The novel explores themes of post war capitalism and culture in Japan in the 20th century, infidelity in re ..the sad truth is that certain types of things can t go backward Once they start going forward, no matter what you do, they can t go back the way they were If even one little thing goes awry, then that s how it will stay foreverSouth of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Haruki Murakami Here, we read the story of one Hajime s journey from childhood to middle age The novel explores themes of post war capitalism and culture in Japan in the 20th century, infidelity in relationships and unrequited love besides usual Murakami esque themes of alienation, loneliness and longing.The story gets its name from the Nat King Cole song by the name of South of the Border Jazz music is a central to the themes in the story, as we sit back in dazzling jazz bars, sipping cocktails listening to Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington.Meanwhile, West of the Sun part of the title refers to a disease called Siberian hysteria In the text, Shimamoto describes Siberian Hysteria, a nervous disorder, using an analogy where as a farmer who operates on a dry and barren run with the horizon North, West, South and East He conducts himself in the same routine day after day, year after year Eventually he becomes hysteric, walking East until he faints from exhaustion and passes away Nat King Cole Hajime was born in post war Japan, at a time when the country s economy was thriving and a baby boom happened, when the birth rate was significantly high and the number of families with single child were rare Hajime, being a single child, is shown to suffer from a degree of alienation due to this, and develops a relationship with books and music In comes Shimatoto, also a single child, with whom he develops a friendship Unfortunately, circumstances separate the two children at a young ageFor a while is a phrase whose length can t be measured.At least by the person who s waiting. We watch Hajime spiral through life in his semi isolation as he struggles with his longing for the past with Shimatoto Eventually, she returns to his life, only Hajime is now 36, and a father of two Shimatoto remains a metaphor for the what ifs and what might have beens of unrequited love.I didn t enjoy this as much as some of Murakami s other novels Yet it was a worthwhile read on 20th century Japanese culture and the trademark Murakami soundtrack allowed me to finish the novel with relative ease My lack of interest in the plot may be due to my inability to relate to the characters and themes in the story.Happy reading

  9. says:

    This book is the literary equivalent of cloud paintings I m not talking John Constable s clouds, which are dense with specificity from a keen and earthy eye but rather New Agey cloud paintings, which are designed to be innocuous and calming, to not stimulate the eye, to induce a meditative state and readjust the spirit and turn one away from the tangible So South of the Border, West of the Sun is not all bad it does satisfy all the above criteria for New Agey cloud paintings and I have no This book is the literary equivalent of cloud paintings I m not talking John Constable s clouds, which are dense with specificity from a keen and earthy eye but rather New Agey cloud paintings, which are designed to be innocuous and calming, to not stimulate the eye, to induce a meditative state and readjust the spirit and turn one away from the tangible So South of the Border, West of the Sun is not all bad it does satisfy all the above criteria for New Agey cloud paintings and I have no beefs with calmness and spirit clarifying, but that s not typically why I turn to art, whether it be paintings or literature I typically turn to art to be engaged with the materials of that art Of course I m also interested in the overall effect of those materials, in the work of art per se, that unquantifiable essence of what has been accomplished but I like this essence to be composed of tangible things, things I can chew on and wrestle with, things I can be viscerally engaged with This book is all essence and forced me to readjust my reading habits I had to actually remove my focus from the words themselves, and to let them pass intact like cloudy kidney stones painlessly through my urethra through my reading eyes and brain and straight into my conceptualizing mind, where they formed something quite small for a novel of over 200 pages The essence of this book is that All things with form can vanish at any moment, but emotion abides , an admirable enough concept that I wholeheartedly accept but is that why I read, to ingest thousands of words that instantly vaporize in my mind leaving a paltry residue such as that Zen koans can perform that feat in ten words or less Again, I turn to art to be engaged with the materials of that art.In his essay on marathon running Murakami refers to himself as boring, and now I m inclined to believe him The protagonist of this book is clearly a stand in for Murakami, and is numbingly dull He s a successful family man who likes jazz and to have his balls licked, not much of a Curriculum Vitae that, so it s augmented with a fixation on a girl he was friends with when he was 12 Granted, this is the meat or rather tofu of the plot, and is sweet and somewhat moving as it morphs through the vicissitudes of his life, though some of its impact was lost on me because now I don t quite believe Murakami I don t believe he s in touch with an inner purity aglow with a spiritual innocence I don t believe his romantic idealism I don t believe in the transcendence of his imagination I don t believe there are women who like to lick his balls And not believing these things about him substantially lessened the impact of the main character s final transformation into the first stages of a complete and interesting being Which begs the question who wants to read a book whose main character doesn t become interesting until after the final word But then is that possibly the point of this book Given the delicate and profound beauty of the final image, and given the vapidity of the preceeding 200 pages, is it possible that the book itself is an embodiment of the essence I previously pointed out that the bulk of the novel itself represents the form destined to vanish and that the final emotionally charged image is what abides I applaud Murakami if that is the case, at least for his conceptual gumption but still I d rather read a book that wasn t designed to be innocuous Give me some meat on my words

  10. says:

    This novel starts out as a coming of age story of a young Japanese man Like other Murakami novels we have cats, Western culture and music both American pop and European classical music To the cats we can add lame women because there are two in this story Another major theme of this book is that the main character and several others are an only child and the characters discuss what this means This makes a lot of sense in Japanese culture with its exceptionally low birth rate to the point This novel starts out as a coming of age story of a young Japanese man Like other Murakami novels we have cats, Western culture and music both American pop and European classical music To the cats we can add lame women because there are two in this story Another major theme of this book is that the main character and several others are an only child and the characters discuss what this means This makes a lot of sense in Japanese culture with its exceptionally low birth rate to the point where Japanese population is actually declining See below by a million people in the last five years There really isn t much plot The young man is bored by his job as an editor but after he marries his wife s wealthy father sets him up as a nightclub owner The young man finds his calling designing and opening night clubs in Tokyo And buying BMWs As time goes on he becomes overly focused on thinking back to his early innocent relations with girls and trying to figure out what went wrong and what his life would have been like if he had stuck with another girl He follows women around who remind him of this or that old girlfriend Everyone thinks of these alternate life scenarios in passing but this man is obsessed by it Even after he has a wife and child, a woman appears who reminds him of one of these earlier romances and he becomes obsessed with her As with some other Murakami novels I found the resolution of the story to be unsatisfactory Introducing some amount of fantasy or mystery is great but you can t just leave us hanging at the end with absolutely no explanation of what was going on why did the woman keep disappearing and where did she go I felt that way about Murakami s IQ84.as well In both novels the science fiction fantasy part of the novel seemed tossed in just for the heck of it and didn t seem to be necessary to the plot Still, I thought it was a good read and worth a 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *