South of the Border, West of the Sun
Born in 1951 in an affluent Tokyo suburb, Hajime—beginning in Japanese—has arrived at middle age wanting for almost nothing. The postwar years have brought him a fine marriage, two daughters, and an enviable career as the proprietor of two jazz clubs. Yet a nagging sense of inauthenticity about his success threatens Hajime’s happiness. And a boyhood memory of a wise, lonely girl named Shimamoto clouds his heart.
In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the simple arc of a man’s life—with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment—becomes the exquisite literary terrain of Haruki Murakami’s most haunting work. When Shimamoto shows up one rainy night, now a breathtaking beauty with a secret from which she is unable to escape, the fault lines of doubt in Hajime’s quotidian existence begin to give way. And the details of stolen moments past and present—a Nat King Cole melody, a face pressed against a window, a handful of ashes drifting downriver to the sea—threaten to undo him completely. Rich, mysterious, quietly dazzling, South of the Border, West of the Sun is Haruki Murakami’s wisest and most compelling work.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Praise for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle:
"A labyrinth designed by a master, at once familiar and irresistibly strange."--Janice P. Nimura, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle
Murakami [is] some kind of wizard...The apparent simplicity of his expression... nearly disguises the fact that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is, in the most time-honored sense, an epic...Every character, every story, nearly every circumstantial detail, appears to connect with every other in some ectoplasmic cat's cradle."--Luc Sante, New York
Mesmerizing...A major work...A love story one minute, a detective story the next, a psychological thriller, a New Age--ish bildungsroman, a sober chronicle of wartime atrocities, a meditation on historical guilt, and more, in dizzying succession...Murakami's most ambitious attempt yet to stuff all of modern Japan into a single fictional edifice." --Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World
A postwar successor [to] the Big Three of modern Japanese literature--Mishima, Kawabata, and Tanizaki...A cool forty-eight-year-old who once ran a jazz bar [and] has translated John Irving, Truman Capote, and Raymond Carver into Japanese, [Murakami] has been perfectly positioned to serve as the voice of hip, Westernized Japan...Yet none of his earlier books prepare one for his massive new Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which digs relentlessly into the buried secrets of Japan's recent past." --Pico Iyer, Time
A bold and generous book...Straight-ahead storytelling [that] never loses its propulsive force...Western critics searching for parallels have variously likened him to Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Don DeLillo, Philip K. Dick, Bret Easton Ellis, and Thomas Pynchon--a roster so ill assorted that Murakami may in fact be an original." --Jamie James, New York Times Book Review
A beguiling sense of mystery suffuses The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and draws us irresistibly and ever deeper into the phantasmagoria of pain and memory... 'Every secret struggles to reveal itself,' Isaac Bashevis Singer once wrote. That's exactly what happens [here], and that's precisely why the book is so compelling and ultimately so convincing." --Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review