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South of the Border, West of the Sun by…

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

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Recently added byprivate library, Avalllon, SrimantaMitra, eastlake_uk, robyeatman, Bookish.ae, otashm, avere
  1. 40
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: In my opinion, a much better book.

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English (50)  French (7)  Spanish (6)  German (4)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Norwegian (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
“After a certain length of time has passed, things harden up. Like a cement hardening in a bucket. And we can't go back anymore”

― Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun ( )
  jrthebutler | Oct 28, 2015 |
The Short of It:

Success and happiness don’t always go hand in hand.

The Rest of It:

Okay, guys. My love for Murakami is approaching full-on creep level. If I could shrink him down and put him in my pocket, I’d carry him around all day long. Weird, huh?

I saved this book for a long time because it was the last translated novel that I had not read but when my father passed away and I was unable to pull myself out of bed, I reached for it and Murakami’s writing did what I expected it to. It soothed, refreshed, made me ponder life in a big way, and all of a sudden all these feelings were rushing through me again.

This is probably one of my favorite novels, ever. It’s right up there with Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It’s a plain, simple story about a middle-aged man by the name of Hajime. He has a loving wife, and two beautiful daughters. He owns a couple of very successful Jazz clubs and enjoys the life he’s earned. But deep down, there’s something missing.

Not fully understanding this sense of longing, he’s reminded of a girl he knew in childhood by the name of Shimamoto. She was his everything but that was a long time ago. Is it possible that she even remembers him?

Memory plays a big role in this story and it’s beautifully handled. Murakami paints vivid, broad strokes when it comes to Shimamoto so it’s easy to see why Hajime is so taken with her. In childhood she’s this beautiful, delicate untouchable thing but when she walks into his club one rainy evening, Hajime begins to doubt his own existence and is no longer sure what happiness is.

This novel is full of romantic interludes but I hesitate to call it a romance because it’s much deeper than your typical romance novel. If you are familiar with Murakami’s writing at all, you know that his books can walk the surreal line. Some of his books are way out there, like Kafka and Wind-up but others are more subtle and this one is definitely one of the quiet ones but oh, how I loved it. That last page! That last line. Sigh.

If I want to try Murakami, which book should I read first?

Everyone always asks me which book to read first. It’s really hard to say. I read Kafka on the Shore first and it was like an acid trip. At page 50 I was about to give up on it and then something clicked. But that’s me. I like it when an author surprises me. But I think about 75% of you would run screaming from a room if you picked that one up first.

So then, to be on the safe side, I usually suggest After Dark, which dips into the surreal but not overly so but if you like excitement then that one might not work for you. Then, there are his short story collections. Some of you adore short stories and some of you don’t. But, I have to say that South of the Border, West of the Sun is the one I will recommend for first time readers from here on out. It’s beautifully written and well-balanced. Not too much of any one thing which makes it a good read for first-time readers of his work.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Mar 5, 2015 |
I have grown to love this book. When I first finished it, I thought, "meh." It wasn't quite the Murakami I knew and was looking for at the time. It's lacking a certain degree of weird. (There's some weird alright, but not the super crazy weird you might come to expect from Murakami.) With each passing month, however, I think about it more and more; it's slowly sinking in on deeper levels. Partially this is because the story itself is haunting and unresolved. On the other hand, I think it's also an example of Murakami at his best - balancing his surrealist, other-wordly imagination with his poetic simplicity. Just the right amount of weird, in other words.

He's working with many of the same themes and character types - mysterious characters, heavy noir vibe, jazz, femme fatale, doomed love, zippy car ride, a finely shaped ear - but they're dialed back a bit. This, to me, ends up making them more potent and not relegated to the world of allegory and kitsch. ( )
  cattylj | Feb 28, 2015 |
Even though I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami and all his works I found this to be a bit too still, a bit too quiet. I love how Murakami can take a very ordinary character with a very normal life and turn his 'every day life' into something quite beautiful, but I still found myself waiting for the 'big happening' that would turn everything around. Instead there's a little trigger but then it ends too quickly and I'm still waiting for it to start.
It was still a beautiful read but not my favourite of all his books.

[bc:Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps|17829704|Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps|Charlotte Eriksson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366309457s/17829704.jpg|24944198]
[a:Charlotte Eriksson|7056690|Charlotte Eriksson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1367998964p2/7056690.jpg] author of [b:Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps|17829704|Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps|Charlotte Eriksson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366309457s/17829704.jpg|24944198] ( )
  theGlassChild | Dec 16, 2014 |
I devoured this book. It's about past yearnings and lost opportunities, the difficulty of choosing your way in the world, how we're all incomplete, and even our best choices wind up damning and ruining us. It's about love.
4 stars oc ( )
  starcat | Aug 11, 2014 |
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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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:20 -0400)

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

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