Murakami: South Of Border West Of Sun [Eric Loren] [Naxos Audio Books: NA0166] (Naxos Audiobooks Unabridged) Audio CD – Audiobook, 3 Mar 2014
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In South of the Border, West of the Sun the arc of an average man's life from childhood to middle age with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment becomes the kind of exquisite literary conundrum that is Haruki Murakami's trademark. The plot is simple: Hajime meets and falls in love with a girl in elementary school but loses touch with her when his family moves to another town. He drifts through high school, college and his 20s before marrying and settling into a career as a successful bar owner. Then his childhood sweetheart returns weighed down with secrets:
"When I went back into the bar, a glass and ashtray remained where she had been. A couple of lightly crushed cigarette butts were lined up in the ashtray, a faint trace of lipstick on each. I sat down and closed my eyes. Echoes of music faded away, leaving me alone. In that gentle darkness, the rain continued to fall without a sound".Murakami eschews the fantastic elements that appear in many of his other novels and stories, and readers hoping for a glimpse of the "Sheep Man" will be disappointed. Yet South of the Border, West of the Sun is as rich and mysterious as anything he has written. It is above all a complex, moving and honest meditation on the nature of love distilled into a work with the crystal clarity of a short story. A Nat King Cole song, a figure on a crowded street, a face pressed against a car window, a handful of ashes drifting down a river to the sea are woven together into a story that refuses to arrive at a simple conclusion. The classic love triangle may seem like a hackneyed theme for a writer as talented as Murakami but in his quietly dazzling way he bends us to his own unique geometry. --Simon Leake, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A story of love in a cool climate, intensely romantic and weepily beautiful...it is startlingly different: a true original" (Guardian)
"Casablanca remade Japanese style...It is dream-like writing, laden with scenes which have the radiance of a poem" (The Times)
"This wise and beautiful book is full of hidden truths" (New York Times)
"This book aches...an eloquent treatise on the vertiginous, irrational powers of love and desire" (Independent on Sunday)
"Impressively written and structured... Above all, the novel is memorable for its unflinchingly extreme treatment of romantic love" (Times Literary Supplement) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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...
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written piece of literature. A very pleasing read, takes you away.Published 1 month ago by Ken Reno
I fell in love with Murakami’s writing when I read After Dark earlier this year for the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pamela Scott
This is yet another delicious, well crafted piece of fiction from the Japanese master, bursting with all the hallmarks of Murakami that make his stories so addictive. Read morePublished 4 months ago by keen reader
my order was delivered promptly and arrived safe and as described - thank you!Published 7 months ago by marina lowrie