South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel

byHaruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel

Kobo ebook | August 11, 2010

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Following the massive complexity of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--Haruki Murakami's best-selling, award-winning novel--comes this deceptively simple love story, a contemporary rendering of the romance in which a boy finds and then loses a girl, only to meet her again years later.

Hajime--"Beginning" in Japanese--was an atypical only child growing up in a conventional middle-class suburb. Shimamoto, herself an only child, was cool and self-possessed, precocious in the extreme. After school these childhood sweethearts would listen to records, hold hands, and talk about their future. Then, despite themselves, in the way peculiar to adolescents, they grew apart, seemingly for good.

Now, facing middle age, finally content after years of aimlessness, Hajime is a successful nightclub owner, a husband and father, when he suddenly is reunited with Shimamoto, propelled into the mysteries of her life, and confronted by dark secrets she is loath to reveal. And so, reckless with enchantment and lust, Hajime prepares to risk everything in order to consummate his first love, and to experience a life he's dreamed of but never had a chance to realize.

Bittersweet, passionate, and ultimately redemptive, South of the Border, West of the Sun is an intricate examination of desire, illuminating the persistent power of childhood and memory in matters of the heart.

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Haruki Murakami was born on January 12, 1949 in Kyoto, Japan, and most of his youth was spent in Kobe. Murakami's parents both taught Japanese literature. Murakami studied at Tokyo's Waseda University. He opened a coffeehouse/jazz bar in the capital called Peter Cat with his wife, Yoko. He later turned to writing full time follo...
Title:South of the Border, West of the Sun: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 11, 2010Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307762742

ISBN - 13:9780307762740

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from a page turner A mysterious page-turner about the life of a man up to his mid-life. The protagonist, maybe like many of us, chases someone or something always out of reach. It is a captivating and easy to read novel.
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite One of the more down-to-Earth stories Murakami has written. In a way, style is reminiscent of "Tony Takitani"
Date published: 2017-11-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite This story even with all the mystery surrounding some of the female characters it was fairly normal compared to other stories by Murakami. This book wasn't a favourite of mine but I don't hate it. It was an easy and fast read.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from With a purposeful direction While this is by no means Haruki Murakami's best literary work, it it one that I really enjoyed. "South of the Border, West of the Sun" reminded me of an aged "Norwegian Wood," in terms of its themes of loneliness, and the seek for love and preservation. There is almost a sense of resignation in the words as the main character, Hajime, recounts his youth, the memories and the days that have led him to decisions of how he had and would live out his adulthood, and tells us of the 3 girls in his life - Shimamoto, Izumi, and Yuki. And this is in due part to the translator Philip Gabriel, who has used simple English words that aren't weighted down by its emotional connotations. The narrative flows without being flowery. Of course, this is all derived from Murakami's flair for capturing the atmosphere of a setting, say the Robin's Nest bar in this case, the mood of a stretch in time, such as Hajime's isolated college years, and the emotions of a circumstance, like the parting of his one true love. Even though the novels with a supernatural twist are his trademark (and I do really enjoy them too), it seems like I almost prefer the more grounded stories with a terse, matter-of-fact writing style, like "Norwegian Wood" and this.
Date published: 2012-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Murakami's Stongest, but Still Good South of The Border, West of the Sun follows is a novel of self discovery, loneliness, and the search for love and happiness. It follows Hajime as he encounters different women that he loves in different ways for different reasons, but it focuses mainly on one. During his childhood years, Hajime met a girl who suffered from Polio named Shimamoto. As they grew up, they drifted apart and lost contact. Now Hajime is a successful owner of two bars and a married father of two. He seems to have the perfect life until Shimamoto shows up once again. Hajime will have to choose between his family and a love that was never given the chance to blossom. This isn’t Murakami’s strongest novel, but it still contains that special Murakami vibe that I so love. There is something so haunting about the way he lets a story unfold. It’s as if his characters take on a life of their own and he merely records what happens for them. Murakami has a way of perfectly capturing emotions and thoughts that many people experience but lack the skills or ability to clearly vocalize or define. I read his books and am amazed at his insight and clarity about life, experience, and the desires of the soul. While South of the Border, West of the Sun does have a bit of the surreal quality that I have noticed in so many of Murakami’s books, it also has a bit of a romantic tone as well as a strange mellowness. There are certain themes that recur in Murakami’s novels: loneliness, isolation, the desire to find a true and passionate love, the need to find a deep connection with another persons who feels the same. South of the Border, West of the Sun does a good job of exploring each of those themes in a relatable way that will make the reader reflect on his or her own life. There are so many truths within the pages of this book: “I should have learned many things from that experience, but when I look back on it, all I gained was one single, undeniable fact. That ultimately I am a person that can do evil.” As with most Murakami books, the ending raised more questions than it answered for me. I wouldn’t recommend this book for those looking to try a Haruki Murakami novel for the first time because, like I said before, it isn’t his strongest novel. I would recommend that dedicated Murakami fans pick it up and give it a read though. I doubt it would be a favorite, but it’s still worthwhile.
Date published: 2010-08-07