South of the border, west of the sun (Haruki Murakami)

29. července 2015 v 17:03 | Mery |  Knihy
Keďže som knižku čítala v angličtine a na angličtinu som o nej písala esej, aj sem na blog dávam túto esej v angličtine. Hope you don´t mind :) (Spoiler alert)

My third book written by the most influential Japanese writer tells a story of Hajime and Shimamoto, both only children, ad their delicate romance.
They meet at the age of twelve and soon become best friends, just sitting on a sofa talking and listening to music. They both feel, that the other one is the only person in the whole world, who can understand their thoughts and emotions. But their friendship doesn´t last forever and they go their separate ways.

As years go by, Hajime grows older and becomes a man. He learns his life lesson by hurting Izumi, his first girlfriend, and with his moving to Tokio he starts being alone again. His life is empty and full of boredom, until he meets his wife. Hajime becomes a father of two daughters and, with a little help from his father-in-law, he starts a business with a jazz bar. His life is now happy and he has everything - but something is still missing.

What is the missing part in his heart? He finds out, when Shimamoto reappears. After months of meeting each other, Shimamoto dissapears again. Which helps Hajime to decide.
When she finally comes back, Hajime is willing to leave hif life, wife and chidren behind. But after only one passionate night together, Shimamoto is lost forever and never to be found. What will Hajime do now? What happened to Shimamoto?

When I was reading this book, my first thought was: Yeah. This is Murakami. I mean, it´s awesome, but I can recognize his pattern.
Main character dealing with love and life, some mysterious or unexplained moments in his past, lots of sex, music, slow gradation, breakpoint, and finally an open ending. But did I care about that pattern? No, I enjoyed it!
Hajime, the main character and storyteller, is not exactly an example of a perfect man, or a hero. He is just a normal human being, he makes mistakes, hurts other people and himself, he falls and stands up again. And that is something everyone can relate to, even if someone doesn´t approve his adultery.

On the other hand Shimamoto represents the mystery in this story. We barely know anything about her past, we don´t know what is she doing when she is not with Hajime, and we don´t know what exactly happened that one time, when Hajime followed her. Also, there is no explanation to what happened to her in the end, although there is this suggestion that she might be dead.

Talking about the formal side of Murakami´s work, he doesn´t use that much of dialogues or direct speech. And that´s something I actually appreciate. His books are not meant to be some kind of thrilling story with exciting twist, but certain study of human mind, motivation and relationships. This also allows him to put very deep thoughts into the text, thoughts that only come to someone´s mind when all alone or with the one special soulmate.

All this makes me think, that Murakami is one of the most brilliant contemporary writers. I´m also not as good in writing reviews as I thought I am, so if you´re still reading this (whatever this is), here´s some quote. It wasn´t easy to pick just only one.

"But what is there, west of the sun?" I asked.
She shook her head again. "I don´t know. Maybe nothing. Or maybe something. At any rate, it´s different from south of the border."
When Nat King Cole began singing "Pretend", Shimamoto, as she had done so very long before, sang along in a small voice.
Pretend you´re happy when you´re blue
It isn´t very hard to do


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1 Polly Polly | Web | 5. srpna 2015 v 14:03 | Reagovat

dost mi to pripomina Sputnik, moja laska... hoci Fialka, ktora tiez zmizla, bola skôr platonickou laskou hlavneho hrdinu, kedze bola ..ak si dobre spominam..lezbicka. Verim, ze to bol skvely Murakami a musim uznat, ze je to jediny autor, ktoremu u mna presiel ten otvoreny koniec xD

2 BB BB | Web | 19. září 2015 v 12:57 | Reagovat

Ja som dočítala jednu z kníh Haruki Murakamiho pár týždňov dozadu práve preto, že je tak vychvaľovaný. Konkrétne Wind up bird´s chronicle.... nech teda viem prečo má také odozvy. Osobne sa mi ale príbeh nepáčil. Kniha mala 600 strán pričom prvých 400 som naozaj nevedela kam príbeh speje a celkove o čom vlastne je. Nehovoriac o tých "fantastických častiach" resp. snových častiach, ktoré nie sú zrovna moja šálka kávy.
Jedine ten záver mi viac-menej ulahodil, hoci bol oproti rozvláčnym predchádzajúcim 500 stranám trocha prirýchli.
A popravde nenašla som v knihe ani nejakú veľkú štúdiu ľudského zmýšlania či vzťahov. Je pravda že hlavný hrdina sa zdôveroval čitateľovi s každou myšlienkou... len nejak som nevedela pochopiť spôsob akým rozmýšlal a ... no. Mám dojem, že som nebola dostatočne "open-minded" aby som si knihu plne užila.

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