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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Murakami so far
After reading Norwegian Wood, I found Murakami an author I would like to read much more of. After The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and The Elephan Vanishes, I have to admit South of the Border, West of the Sun is my favourite.
Only 200 or so pages, this book is one of the most touching love stories I have ever read, although at no point does it become overly sentimental.It...
Published on 7 Mar 2006 by A. Voulgari

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A short and easy read
...but not Murakami's best. I did enjoy this tale of one mans love, confusion and borderline self- obsession, but I have to say, it is not the best story from Murakami. If you want a suitable introduction to his work (and by the large, it is excellent) then I would recommend Norwegian Wood a lot more. This book is simple (dare I say it semi-autobiographical?), and I found...
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Simon Paddon


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Murakami so far, 7 Mar 2006
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This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
After reading Norwegian Wood, I found Murakami an author I would like to read much more of. After The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and The Elephan Vanishes, I have to admit South of the Border, West of the Sun is my favourite.
Only 200 or so pages, this book is one of the most touching love stories I have ever read, although at no point does it become overly sentimental.It mixes together fate, love, duty and choice and one man's dilemma between the life he knows and the love he longs for since his childhood.
Enigmatic, beautifully written and utterly brilliant.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning novel, a must-read for all Murakami fans, 13 Sep 2004
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This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
If you have never read anything from Murakami you might just as well start from here (and then, once you are 'hooked' - which you will be - move on to Norwegian Wood and Dance Dance Dance).
Even the setting eventually reminded me a bit of Norwegian Wood (which I read after this one) it is an utterly magical novel, and if you think you would never read a 'love story', well, read this one and expect to feel deeply shaken.
This is not (only) about love, or lost opportunities, or the constant tension between marriage, love and friendship - this is a book about feelings, about life and, most of all, about everybody's sense of loss when we make "sensible" choices in life, that end up making us, in the end, deeply dissatisfied with our lives...
Really one is without words when it comes to review a Murakami book, all is that to be said is: thanks to those who initally got me to read one, and to those who have never read him, start today!
I have probably already said this on some other reviews, when it comes to Murakami, 5 star is not enough...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Painful, rainy nights, beautifully presented., 30 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
I had recently finished Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” – this was my second experience of his writing. I adored this book too. Much shorter than “Norwegian Wood”, it was equally poignant, painful and exquisite. The premise is simple, the return in adulthood of a childhood sweetheart, and the consequences. The execution is beautiful. Murakami has a magical way of wrapping the reader in the pain of his characters.
I admit to having been frustrated by Shimamoto, a character about whom we never learn very much. This is the point though, neither does Hajime, who has kept her in his thoughts since childhood. It is powerful that their strong hold over one another is based primarily on the past and memory, as is so often the case in life. I agree with another reviewer that the strength of the bond seems disproportionate to the picture of the childhood that is portrayed, but I think this demonstrates that over time our memory distorts reality and turns it into something so much more perfect and desirable. Hajime admits to being nostalgic, and I think that’s the key to understanding the passionate hold Shimamoto still has over him in adulthood.
I like Hajime, I believe the character, I feel for his difficulties, because he is reasonably uncomplicated, steadily making his way through life without deliberate aims or purpose, like so many of us! I think his fixation on Shimamoto gives him purpose, for a while.
Murakami’s beautiful mastery of words makes poetry of his prose, and it flows fantastically, with some breath-taking moments. But the pain portrayed is acute, and readers cannot help but feel a proportion of this pain themselves.
This is a beautiful book that I would not hesitate to recommend.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Murakami, 25 Aug 2005
By 
Veronica (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the first paragraph I was gripped by the flowing prose and intriguing characters. What is particularly remarkable is that the main character is not particularly likeable, and yet I found myself totally caught up in his life and thoughts.
The novel starts when Hajime is twelve years old and his best friend is Shimamoto, a girl with a limp, whom he spends precious hours with listening to her father's record collection. As Hajime grows older he becomes more reckless, first having a passionate affair with the cousin of his girlfriend and later on having flings whilst his wife is pregnant. When he is twenty eight Hajime briefly sees Shimamoto and follows her, but they never speak, and Hajime doesn't see her again until she walks into one of his jazz bars almost ten years later. The novel charts their developing relationship.
I liked the themes throughout the book: being an only child, the nature of love and desire, why people do bad things, the tediousness of office jobs and modern City life. This was my first Murakami book and I'm looking forward to reading others. To be honest, I can't believe that I enjoyed a book so much that ended with so many unanswered questions. Shimamoto's life after she and Hajime were together when they were twelve remains a complete mystery, and the significance of the envelope with the money in it also raises plenty of questions.
Overall this was a fairly short, stylish read - just as I like them. Highly recommended.
JoAnne
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nebulous love story, 26 May 2009
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
This is without doubt my favourite Murakami novel and arguably his most accessible book to date. Essentially a love story; the novel focuses on main protagonist Hajime's fractured love-life, and his ensuing mid-life crisis, as, running a successful Jazz bar and married with two children, he becomes dissatisfied with his lot and promptly - almost wilfully - puts all he has in jeopardy by picking-up with lame childhood sweetheart Shimamoto, who arrives unannounced in his bar, one ordinary day.
Ultimately, Hajime makes a decision, and the tale is resolved. There's not really much more to the story than that; however it is Murakami's dreamy and nebulous prose, and the haunting feel of this novel, that lifts it out of the ordinary and makes it such a compelling read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 10 Jun 2007
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
Murakami deals with themes of romance, longing, marraige, and sadness in this story about a a past romance. I think this is definitely more in line with Sputnik Sweetheart and Norwegian Wood, that is to say is more grounded in reality rather than surreal wit. In any case this novella captures the feelings of sadness and love really well, as the main character sits there looking out of the car window, we are there with him. I've come to the conclusion his writing style is a bit like a semantic Edward Hopper painting. In any case, this is a beautiful book which left a resonance with me when long after I finished it. A great novella that is written concisely and intelligently.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Murakami book, 4 Feb 2007
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
My favourite Murakami book. This one is slim, has the trademark surreal plot developments (including the 'mysterious woman who goes unexplainably missing' trick) and ambiguous ending, but doesn't get carried away. The book is full of characters who find it impossible to let go of things, and in this way it is a companion piece to the later Kafka on the Shore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A short and easy read, 6 Mar 2013
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Mr. Simon Paddon "Simon" (Barnstaple, UK) - See all my reviews
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...but not Murakami's best. I did enjoy this tale of one mans love, confusion and borderline self- obsession, but I have to say, it is not the best story from Murakami. If you want a suitable introduction to his work (and by the large, it is excellent) then I would recommend Norwegian Wood a lot more. This book is simple (dare I say it semi-autobiographical?), and I found it easy to read and quick to finish, but it did not make me feel like Norwegian Wood did. I would still recommend it, but perhaps for a Murakami fan (like myself).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose, thoughtfully written, 2 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Although Murukami's books reach us only in translation, this is the third of his books that I have read and the style is very consistent so we can assume that the translation remains true to the original. South of the Border examines the testing of interpersonal relationships from the introspective, considered view of the narrator. I particularly enjoy his attention to those small interactions that seem trivial at the time but to which we attach so much meaning in retrospect.
It is beautifully written and although there is a selfishness to the narrator and mysteriousness with all the main characters, the prose style invokes sympathy for each of the characters and, for me, an underlying feeling of serenity. I am slowly building up a library of Murukami's work and have lent them to many of my friends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful and moving little book, 23 Oct 2001
I thought this was a great way into Maurakami's writing. I started with Wind-up Bird and then read Norweigian wood but this nestles very neatly inbetween. It is dark and funny but very easy going - unlike Wild Sheep Chase or Hard Boiled Wonderland for example.
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South Of The Border, West Of The Sun
South Of The Border, West Of The Sun by Haruki Murakami (Paperback - 1 Jun 2000)
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