Synopses & Reviews
In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels — Hear the Wind Sing
, 1973 — that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.
These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age — the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat — are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami's later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat.
Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer's beginnings.
"Given Murakami's (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage) fervent fan base and the enduring strangeness that characterizes his work, it's not surprising that an aura of mystery surrounds his first two novels: the only previous English translations were published in Japan and they've been difficult to find in the West. Now 1979's Hear the Wind Sing and the following year's Pinball, 1973, written while the budding author operated a Tokyo jazz club, are finally available in one volume as Wind/Pinball, and Murakami obsessives are in for a treat. All the hallmarks of Murakami are here at their genesis, including his seemingly simple style, which he describes in an indispensable foreword. Wind is a touching and almost totally uneventful sketch of a record-collecting regular at J's Bar, his quiet romance with a nine-fingered woman, and his friendship with the dubious ne'er-do-well called the Rat. Pinball recounts the same narrator's student days on the eve of the Vietnam War, his encounter with identical twins called 209 and 208, and how he and the Rat become swept up in 'the occult world of pinball.' Both novels, of course, feature digressions on beer, historical oddballs, obscure trivia, and jazz. Elegiac, ambient, and matter-of-fact in their strangeness, these two novels might leave casual readers wondering what all the fuss is about. But for the rest of us, this may be the ultimate bit of Murakami arcana, both elevating his other books (including A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance, the sequels) and serving as two excellent, though fragile, works in their own right." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A fresh, heart-warming dose of the Japanese master....These new-old books are short but by no means slight. Nor are they only for hard-core Murakami fans." The Economist
"[Wind/Pinball] clearly show[s] a writer of innovation emerging and developing his formidable talent....Both books have that unique blend of melancholy and beauty that Murakami manages so well; they are mysterious, moreish....Novella-sized, they incorporate the themes that preoccupy Murakami to the present day, and bear much of the same style....What is also there, especially in Hear the Wind Sing, is reflections on writing itself, as if Murakami were stating his reasons, and his need, to tell stories....What stands out in both books is the writing, beautiful in its simplicity, and also the deadpan humour and one-liners....The dialogue is sparklingly clever, drunkenly witty." The Independent
"Though these stories — two of the so-called Rat Trilogy — are more than 40 years old, marking the very beginning of Murakami's career, they are full of trademark turns....There's a Beatles record on the turntable at all times, of course, offering the possibility of peace and love and unity....It's interesting to see hints of the masterly novels to come." Kirkus Reviews
"A great treat — both for Murakami enthusiasts and for the more casually interested reader....A pair of early literary excursions that are never less than insightful and intelligent; brisk and diverting; unusual and transporting; and that offer a fascinating insight into the imagination of a young writer....The vigour and playfulness with which Murakami handles these peculiar, shifting stories makes for a volume that even those unfamiliar with his writing are likely to enjoy, and there is plenty here for the aficionado, too." The National (UAE)
About the Author
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages. The most recent of his many international honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul.