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Wind / Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki…
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Wind / Pinball: Two Novels

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Rat (Omnibus 1 & 2)

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English (22)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All (27)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
These are murakamis first works and it shows. Although all the classic murakami bingo elements are there, from strange happenings, friendly bar men, erotic encounters, jazz and pop music, slacker protagonists etc the novels don't really hang together and not much really happens. Recommended for murakami completionists (like me) only and probably best skipped if you're not a rabid fan. However it's heartening to know that even superstars started from somewhere. ( )
  judtheobscure | Oct 6, 2017 |
You can tell this is Murakami's first works, the stories don't have the same energy or weight that his other books have. In both of these stories I felt I was meandering through a waiting area before you reach hell. Not a bad place necessarily just a washed out place with the only thing that's in focus is death, or rather the anticipation of death.

These are the stories of Rat and possibly of Rat's friend. I was never very sure if it wasn't just an alter ego. But in this Marukami is consistent because, as in his other books, he makes you think and pulls you in as part of the story.

Don't not read Marukami based on these two books because he has much better stories. ( )
  mmoj | Mar 2, 2017 |
I sometimes find it hard to explain exactly why I enjoy Haruki Murakami’s writing so much. Part of the attraction is that the protagonists often seem slightly disconnected from the world, but are still real – they are people we have all met, and people we might not mind knowing. Part of the attraction is the surrealism (sometimes hints; sometimes smack on assaults) that are woven in the lives of these everyday people. And part of the attraction is the otherworldliness that permeates his writing. I am not sure if this is because of the way he writes, or if it comes from his works being grounded in the Japanese culture (one that is close to America’s, and yet so far away), or a combination of both.

But all of these pieces wouldn’t really add up to something worth anyone’s time if it were not for Murakami’s style – one that is not quite like anyone else’s. Here’s a paragraph that opens the 13th chapter of Pinball, 1973, the second novel in this collection.

“On any given day, something can come along and steal our hearts. It may be any old thing: a rosebud, a lost cap, a favorite sweater from childhood, an old Gene Pitney record. A miscellany of trivia with no home to call their own. Lingering for two or three days, that something soon disappears, returning to the darkness. There are wells, deep wells, dug in our hearts. Birds fly over them.

In the introduction to this book, Murakami describes how he wrote these two novels – his first. His initial attempt did not work, so he began writing in English. He knew the language, but did not have as robust a knowledge as one would expect necessary for writing a novel. This forced him in to a more simple style. He then translated this back to Japanese. And, with that, he found his style. He never again needed to write in English and then translate back, but he had his style– the one that captivates so many readers today.

So, one might expect that these first two novels (maybe closer to novellas, but let’s keep moving) would show the growing pains of a new author – one discovering his voice but still struggling with how to use it. (in fact, Murakami has not pushed for their release into English translations for just that reason.)

Not the case. It is all here – the voice, the characters, hints of surrealism, the style. In fact, I found these two pieces stronger than one or two of his later ones. Maybe the subsequent longer pieces allowed him to be more self-indulgent? Whatever the case, these are both very good.

Both novels cover periods in the lives of the narrator and his friend, the Rat. In the first novel, the narrator finds a girl passed out and takes her back to her room. The relationship starts poorly as she assumes he has taken advantage of her. But a few chance meetings result in a growing relationship. In Pinball, 1973, the narrator has started his own successful translation business and is now living with twins – two girls who just appeared in his life. He finds himself suddenly fascinated with one pinball machine (the basis for the quote above).

There are more plot points and “things going on” in both novels, but these are not really important. Yes, the narrative drives the stories and, without them, we might not be compelled read on. But what really makes these novels worth reading is the discussion about culture and life that surround those plots, and the revelations those discussions provide about the characters. These are people that are continually sorting out their place in life. And, while such discussions can be quickly self-indulgent and boring, that doesn’t happen. Murakami’s craftsmanship and skills bring these people to life in a way that makes the reader care for them.

There are stronger Murakami novels, but these are very good. And, if they happen to be the first you read, I don’t think you will be disappointed. They can serve as short introductions to the author or, if you are like me, they are nice pieces to add to the collection. ( )
  figre | Jan 18, 2017 |
First of all, y'all should know that I'm a sucker for first novels. Like, serious hard-on for them. And that's very relevant with Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami. These are indeed his first two novels and, as is true of most first novels of eventual masters, they are deeply flawed. They're also so delicious and lovely in large part because I know where he's going. I know that he's writing this fiction that's a little too sweet and trying just a little too hard and is a little too self-conscious, and I know that all of these things are working against the genius that flows in his veins but god damn if it doesn't charm me.

Would I recommend this as a starting point for people who've never read Murakami? Definitely not. But for those who've already fallen in love with him, it's like looking back at your beau's high school portrait and seeing him for the little naive, innocent, dork he was but through the blur of already loving the man he is today. It's sweet and lovely and endearing. At least it was for me. ( )
1 vote agnesmack | Jul 27, 2016 |
This volume is composed of one essay piece about how Murakami found his writing style and, in fact, how he became a writer without having done the usual writing classes and working at multiple, multiple drafts and different works until he became sure of himself, as well as his two earliest fiction pieces (novellas). Although I'd previously read the story of how he had an epiphany at a baseball game regarding his decision to write a novel, I hadn't read about how he came to his own particular writing style. It was interesting and explained a lot about why his work seems so different from other Japanese novelists.

Wind, the first novella, is very meditative and seems very personal to Murakami, rather than being a character being introspective. That feeling tended to take me out of the story because it felt so much more like a memoir than a novella. Maybe it was just me who felt that way because I've read several of his non-fiction pieces and, as a result, feel that have a sense of him as a person.

Pinball, the second novella, was more familiar, both in feeling like Murakami's other works and in feeling like a novella with characters. Here his character seemed to be searching for some part of himself that he had lost or, more probably, grown beyond. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jul 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Goossen, TedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
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Most people - by which I mean most of us who are part of Japanese society - graduate from school, then find work, then, after some time has passed, get married. (An Introduction to Two Short Novels)
"There's no such thing as a perfect piece of writing. Just as there's no such thing as perfect despair." (Hear the Wind Sing)
I enjoyed listening to stories about faraway places so much that it became a kind of sickness. (Pinball, 1973)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Il romanzo del Sorcio aveva due punti buoni. Primo, non c'erano scene di sesso. Secondo, nessuno moriva. Tanto si sa che gli uomini vanno a letto con le donne, e muoiono. Quindi che bisogno c'è di ricordarglielo con un libro?
Detesto le menzogne. Si può affermare che le menzogne e il silenzio sono le due colpe più gravi della società attuale. Eppure mentiamo spesso, e spesso restiamo in silenzio. Ma se dicessimo sempre e solo la verità, forse il valore della verità si perderebbe.
Intorno alla fermata le luci iniziarono ad accendersi, gli autobus si incrociavano come gigantesche trote che salissero e scendessero la corrente.
Tennesse Williams una volta scrisse: «Il passato e il presente sono quelli che sono, del futuro possiamo solo dire che è "probabile"». Eppure, quando ci voltiamo a guardare il buio sentiero già percorso, riusciamo solo a distinguere un instabile «può darsi». L'unico momento chiaramente visibile è il presente, e anche quello ci passa solo accanto.
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This is a collection of 2 works. Please do not combine with "Pinball, 1973".
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