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South of the Border, West of the Sun by…
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South of the Border, West of the Sun (1998)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,935671,305 (3.84)108
Recently added byJCrump, newyorklit, NorahBarnacle, private library, adrateia, swilson, gamasennin, macphear
  1. 40
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: In my opinion, a much better book.
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» See also 108 mentions

English (44)  Spanish (6)  French (6)  German (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Most unlikeable protagonist ever, but good book. ( )
  William-Tucker | Jun 29, 2014 |
South of the Border, West of the Sun feels a lot like [b:Norwegian Wood|11297|Norwegian Wood|Haruki Murakami|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320451630s/11297.jpg|2956680] in that both mark departures from the more surrealist aspects of Murakami's writings and instead explore love and loss in post-war Japan.

Murakami deftly explores the longings a person has for a first love and how those feelings can overrun a person's life even when happiness is found elsewhere. The exploration of a mid-life crisis is well developed.


However, unlike Norwegian Wood, this book still feels somewhat lacking - similar elements are there but South of the Border, West of the Sun lacks the emotional development that the former book has. Nevertheless, it is still an enjoyable read. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
"Hay una realidad que demuestra la verdad de un hecho. Porque nuestra memoria y nuestros sentidos son demasiado inseguros, demasiado parciales.Incluso podemos afirmar que muchas veces es imposible discernir hasta qué punto un hecho que creemos percibir es real y a partir de qué punto solo creemos que lo es. Así que para preservar la realidad como tal, necesitamos otra realidad-una realidad colindante-que la relativice. Pero, asu vez esta realidad colindante necesita una base para relativizararse a sí misma. Es decir, que hay otra realidad colindante que demuestra, a su vez, que esta es real. Y esta cadena se extiende indefinidamente dentro de nuestra conciencia y, en un cierto sentido, puede afirmarse que es a través de esta sucesión, a través de la conservación de esta cadena, como adquirimos conciencia de nuestra existencia misma." ( )
  darioha | Mar 13, 2014 |
With a new Haruki Murakami book being released in Australia on August 12th 2014 (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage); I thought it was high time I jumped into my Murakami stash. I love Murakami’s writing; it’s something I never want to run out of (hence my pile of his books that I read and savour slowly on occasions).

For those of you who have read 1Q84, Norwegian Wood or even Sputnik Sweetheart, you might think the plot of South of the Border, West of the Sun is sounding a little tired. The book revolves around Hajime and the women of the youth and early adulthood. He reflects on these girls later on in his years (he’s now happily married with children), but there’s one girl he keeps coming back to. Shimamoto. They hung out together as children – they were both only children and seemed drawn to each other. They listened to her father’s records together. Then Haijime’s family moved a little further away and Hajime went to a different school. It was an innocent time, but he’s never forgotten her. Nor has Hajime seen her, except for one very odd time before he was married.

Now the successful owner of two jazz bars in Tokyo, Hajime is surprised and pleased to meet Shimamoto again one night. He begins to crave their time together, but Shimamoto is evasive and her visits sporadic. Hajime’s life begins to revolve around Shimamoto again, but will he throw his life away for a second chance with her? Why does Shimamoto come and go? What is her secret?

I’ve heard this book described as Murakami’s most autobiographical novel, but I can’t comment. Yes, there is a similarity between the jazz bar but otherwise… Obviously lost love and what if? plays a large role in many of Murakami’s works, but I didn’t find this repetitive or similar to the above books. Murakami’s words are beautiful lyrics floating up off the page and he weaves a spell so that you are at one with the book. While you read his words, you are part of this mysterious, wondrous world that sparkles just a little bit brighter than your day to day monotony. There are also dark corners, ones that Murakami encourages you to explore on your own – he’s the type of author who suggests things, rather than hit you with the absolute truth.

So while we may not get all the answers as to why Hajime and Shimamoto act the way they do, we’re still taken on a beautiful journey full of emotions – love, joy, pain and deception. It’s a rare thing to be able to convey such intense feeling across the page, but Murakami does it with skill (and Phillip Gabriel translates it perfectly).

This is a slim read, but one with words and emotions to savour long after you’ve closed the book.

For more Murakami reviews, visit http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Feb 20, 2014 |
While reading the book, I planned to rate it three out of five stars, as I was a bit dissapointed after reading other works by Murakami. It felt much more difficult to connect to the main characters as in, for example, Norwegian Wood. However, the two final chapters are so magnificently written, turned the story up side down, and contain so many delicious metaphors that I had to show some mercy and award it with four stars.

Not my all-time Murakami favourite, but a strange and captivating (short) story that is hard to put down. ( )
  Differenti | Jan 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bandini, DitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandini, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fennema, ElbrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My birthday is January 4, 1951. The first week of the first month of the first year of the second half of the twentieth century.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679767398, Paperback)

In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the arc of an average man's life from childhood to middle age, with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment, becomes the kind of exquisite literary conundrum that is Haruki Murakami's trademark. The plot is simple: Hajime meets and falls in love with a girl in elementary school, but he loses touch with her when his family moves to another town. He drifts through high school, college, and his 20s, before marrying and settling into a career as a successful bar owner. Then his childhood sweetheart returns, weighed down with secrets:
When I went back into the bar, a glass and ashtray remained where she had been. A couple of lightly crushed cigarette butts were lined up in the ashtray, a faint trace of lipstick on each. I sat down and closed my eyes. Echoes of music faded away, leaving me alone. In that gentle darkness, the rain continued to fall without a sound.
Murakami eschews the fantastic elements that appear in many of his other novels and stories, and readers hoping for a glimpse of the Sheep Man will be disappointed. Yet South of the Border, West of the Sun is as rich and mysterious as anything he has written. It is above all a complex, moving, and honest meditation on the nature of love, distilled into a work with the crystal clarity of a short story. A Nat "King" Cole song, a figure on a crowded street, a face pressed against a car window, a handful of ashes drifting down a river to the sea are woven together into a story that refuses to arrive at a simple conclusion. The classic love triangle may seem like a hackneyed theme for a writer as talented as Murakami, but in his quietly dazzling way, he bends us to his own unique geometry. --Simon Leake

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A successful Japanese nightclub owner, husband, and father risks everything to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

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