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28 of 29 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

versus
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 18 months ago by Mr. Simon Paddon


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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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4.0 out of 5 stars 'South of the Border, West of the Sun', 8 Feb 2007
By 
Hannah W (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
On the face of it, 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' is a simple love story. As a boy and a rare only child, Hajime meets Shimamoto and the two share an intense friendship. The two move away from each other and we follow Hajime through adolescence to middle age, focusing particuarly on his relationships with women. In high school, he badly hurts a girl called Izumi, and thereafter remains a lonely man for over 10 years before marrying a woman he seems to view as lovely yet unremarkable. Hajime has two children and runs a successful business, but just when he thinks things are going smoothly Shimamoto reappears.

From there forwards the plot begins to twist, as do Hajime's emotions. The novel is a study of love and desire, but also of the ways we can hurt each other without meaning to. It is set against a backdrop of Japanese culture that is both foriegn and easy to relate to as a European, and everything is told in a way that is easy to understand yet dripping with meaning. It's one of Murakami's shortest books, and yet it does not fail to satisfy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not your usual novel!, 18 Sep 2000
By 
junli@rocketmail.com (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) - See all my reviews
If you're looking for one of those fulfilling novels where there is always a conclusive ending, then this is not one of them. You may find yourself shaking your head at Hajime's actions and asking him in your mind, "What do you really want?" And even after the author reveals parts of Shimamoto's past, she remains a highly mysterious character. But Murakami does not write conventional stuff and this book still rates as one of the more thought-provoking ones I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful read but still waiting for the 'big happening'., 16 July 2013
Even though I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami and all his works I found this to be a bit too still, a bit too quiet. I love how Murakami can take a very ordinary character with a very normal life and turn his 'every day life' into something quite beautiful, but I still found myself waiting for the 'big happening' that would turn everything around. Instead there's a little trigger but then it ends too quickly and I'm still waiting for it to start.
It was still a beautiful read but not my favourite of all his books.

- Charlotte Eriksson, author of Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreamlike, melancholy and mysterious, 22 Jun 2011
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
This is a short novel about a Japanese man - Hajime - who has carried a torch for a childhood crush his entire life. After a stuttering start he finds his feet in life: running two cocktail bars, married with two children. But still he remembers Shimamoto, whom he has not seen since he was 12 or 13. And then one day she walks into his bar and the comfortable existence that he has created for himself is thrown into disarray.

It's a deceptively simple novel and my review probably won't do it justice. Murakami's writing put me into a dreamlike state and I read it very quickly. The story is narrated by Hajime and it pulls you inside his mind so well that you almost feel like your breathing is synchronised with his. There are things about the book I can criticise. There are some strands that are never tied up or explained. Also, none of the female characters are even remotely rounded or plausible. His wife in particular seemed completely unrealistic. Really, I can't say that I liked any of the characters in the book at all. This didn't matter.

This would be a brilliant choice for a book club because it's short enough that everyone would read it and there is so much to discuss in it. The ending is somewhat ambiguous (at least it seemed that way to me) and I was dying to talk to someone about it. One theme is the importance that Hajime places on being an only child and how that created a bond between him and Shimamoto. Another is the idea that we can fall heavily for things we don't really understand - like the English songs that Hajime and Shimamoto listened to as children, but also their relationship itself. Another is the traces that early and intense relationships leave on us: both on Hajime and Shimamoto, but also on his first girlfriend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgotten book, 5 Jan 2011
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
This Murakami book often gets overlooked by customers in bookstores. You always read about how good Norwegian Wood is, but in my opinion, South of the Border is much better. It is by far his saddest story so far, and for his standards, it's a pretty normal story. There are no frogs falling from the sky, or no tales about disappearing cats or anything. It is a true love story. I don't want to go too deep into the story, because I don't want to give away too much. Just trust me. I've read all of his books, including parts 1 and 2 of 1Q84, and South of the border, west of the sun is an absolute must read. Even more than Norwegian Wood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 5 Aug 2014
By 
A. Jolly "Human Being" (Leyland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
The contents of South of the Border, West of the Sun feel so much bigger than the 200 pages into which they fit. A scope is delivered that is sprawling, yet it is concisely delivered through one man's moral struggles and experience in living life. Haruki Murukami continues to astound me years after I first fell in love with his words. This book is another shining example of an author who crafts such believable, deep characters and hints at something magical in how people can connect with one another. The nostalgia that the lead character feels rings true, and his inner torment resounds believably through the pages. As with every novel I've read by Murakami, when I came to the final page I was left feeling as though something was missing. My reviews cannot do this author justice, he is magnificent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The changing shape of love, 20 Feb 2007
By 
Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Paperback)
Doing what he did so well with Norwegian Wood, South of the Border... is another understated, achingly beautiful portrait of love from Murakami. The portrait is keenly and honestly painted - for instance, Murakami avoids the trap of sentimentalising school love - while as his protagonist hits his twenties he manages the difficult task of keeping your sympathies with a man who is by no means perfect.

In less than 200 pages Murakami paints 20 years of a man's changing love life in clear-as-water prose. It's a Rebirth plot that shows just how our idea of what 'love' is can change from the curiosity of childhood, to the exploratory teens, searching twenties, and security of married life. Lovely.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unfulfilling life, 3 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This is the 3rd book by Murakami that I've read; the other two are "Wild Sheep Chase" and "Hard-boiled Wonderland...". Unlike these two novels, the plot of "South of the Border..." does not explicitly contain elements of the paranormal, science-fiction, fantasy, etc. The plot could actually be a real story, it could be the life story of your next door neighbour. Nevertheless I found it just as surreal, fatalistic, unpredictable and spellbinding. Basically, Murakami tells the story of an only child who had nothing extraordinarily good or bad about him. Thanks to a good dose of luck and to a couple of his good traits, he found himself running a successful business, happily married and the father of 2 children by his mid/late thirties. He also found himself having a past of wasted years, and regrets for having hurt a past lover. At that point, like some mysterious ghost, a childhood sweetheart reappeared in his life, and our hero faced the dilemma of whether to have an affair with her. Despite the very simple storyline, this novel is beautifully written and reads very easily. It is also thought-provoking, symbolic, and can be seen as a fable open to all kinds of interpretation. For me, it says something about how life is often unfulfilling and fails to satisfy us. Even when we genuinely feel that what we've got is much more than what we really deserve, we still yearn for something different, something more.
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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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