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South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novelby Haruki Murakami
Following the coming-of-age of Hajime, a lonely only child, into his young adulthood, marriage, and adult life, South of the Border, West of the Sun is a melancholy tale of a life of longing. Exploring love, attraction, sexuality, and happiness, Murakami's brilliant novel visits a marriage on the knife-edge of disaster. The tension, the indecision, and the longing are so palpable, you ache for each and every character. As the marital knots are painfully untangled, you can only wonder at Murakami's genius for capturing the ruin of a life, and laying it down on paper. Wonderful!
"A dark assemblage of the wonderfully flawed characters we've come to expect from Japan's reigning master of the surreal, South of the Border is completely absorbing despite its somewhat bare premise. Hooked instantly by Murakami's offbeat dialogue and the bizarre yet sweet relationship between Hajime and Shimamoto, I had a hard time putting this book down even for a minute." David Hannon, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the simple arc of a man's life — with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment — becomes the exquisite literary terrain of Haruki Murakami's most haunting work.
Born in 1951 in an affluent Tokyo suburb, Hajime — beginning in Japanese — has arrived at middle age wanting for almost nothing. The postwar years have brought him a fine marriage, two daughters, and an enviable career as the proprietor of two jazz clubs. Yet a nagging sense of inauthenticity about his success threatens Hajime's happiness. And a boyhood memory of a wise, lonely girl named Shimamoto clouds his heart.
When Shimamoto shows up one rainy night, now a breathtaking beauty with a secret from which she is unable to escape, the fault lines of doubt in Hajime's quotidian existence begin to give way. And the details of stolen moments past and present — a Nat King Cole melody, a face pressed against a window, a handful of ashes drifting downriver to the sea — threaten to undo him completely. Rich, mysterious, quietly dazzling, South of the Border, West of the Sun is Haruki Murakami's wisest and most compelling fiction.
"A wise and beautiful book." New York Times Book Review
"His most deeply moving novel." Boston Globe
"Lovely, deceptively simple....A novel of existential romance." San Francisco Chronicle
"A probing meditation on human fragility, the grip of obsession, and the impenetrable, erotically charged enigma that is the other." New York Times
"Brilliant....A mesmerizing new example of Murakami's deeply original fiction." Baltimore Sun
"In Murakami's world, secret selves and other realities are forever lurking beneath the shifting sands of the everyday. If this examination of one of those selves is less grand than we've come to expect from one of the masters of the contemporary novel, it is also more intimate and every bit as unsettling." Booklist
“A fine, almost delicate book about what is unfathomable about us.” Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
Haruki Murakami lives in Oiso, Japan, just outside of Tokyo.
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