Haruki Murakami's "South of the border, West of the sun" is a novel about loss, nostalgia and detachment. The book is intensely romantic and at times painful, while sweeping in its simple yet profoundly touching prose, capturing the emptiness of a man's mid-life crisis. Murakami is a master of style, his prose is always wonderful to read, but his books are also surprisingly deep, philosophical and mysterious, and "South of the border, West of the sun" is no exception. There are some loose ends and unexplained events, but it adds to the melancholic atmosphere of the narrative. The book mixes the boredom of everyday life and work with the mysterious and powerful sexual attraction of love lost, time lost.
Cold and dethatched, this novel will make an otherwise sunny day feel like a rainy night in some dark and dank alleyway. But the book is thankfully not overall dark and depressing, with some well placed humour and witticism, it looks further, and remains life-affirming in its own cynical way. Well recommended.
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