South of the Border, West of the Sun

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9780099448570: South of the Border, West of the Sun
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Growing up in the suburbs in post-war Japan, it seemed to Hajime that everyone but him had brothers and sisters. His sole companion was Shimamoto, also an only child. Together they spent long afternoons listening to her father's record collection. But when his family moved away, the two lost touch.
Now Hajime is in his thirties. After a decade of drifting he has found happiness with his loving wife and two daughters, and success running a jazz bar. Then Shimamoto reappears. She is beautiful, intense, enveloped in mystery. Hajime is catapulted into the past, putting at risk all he has in the present.

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Review:

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 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, Amazon.com

Review:

"A story of love in a cool climate, intensely romantic and weepily beautiful...it is startlingly different: a true original" (Guardian)

"Casablanca remade Japanese style...It is dream-like writing, laden with scenes which have the radiance of a poem" (The Times)

"This wise and beautiful book is full of hidden truths" (New York Times)

"This book aches...an eloquent treatise on the vertiginous, irrational powers of love and desire" (Independent on Sunday)

"Impressively written and structured... Above all, the novel is memorable for its unflinchingly extreme treatment of romantic love" (Times Literary Supplement)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780679767398: South of the Border, West of the Sun (Vintage International)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0679767398 ISBN 13: 9780679767398
Publisher: Penguin Random House USA, 2000
Softcover

9780375402517: South of the Border, West of the Sun

Alfred..., 1999
Hardcover

9781860465949: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun

Harvil..., 1999
Softcover

9781860467172: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (Panther)

Vintage, 2000
Softcover

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