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! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
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
About the Author
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. The most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe. He is the author of the novels Dance, Dance, Dance; Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; A Wild Sheep Chase; South of the Border, West of the Sun; and Sputnik Sweetheart; of The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of stories; and of Underground, a work of non-fiction. His work has been translated into 14 languages.