Book Review: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami


Haruki Murakami 

Amazon:  Wind/Pinball, a unique two-in-one volume, includes, on one side, Murakami’s first novel Hear the Wind Sing. When you flip the book over, you can read his second novel, Pinball, 1973. Each book has its own stunning cover. In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973—that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age—the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat—are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami’s later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat. Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginnings.

Hear the Wind Sing is an intriguing first book which reads like a memoir. Like his later books, it meanders and introduces topics or goes on tangents that you not quite sure how they fit, but you know they fit anyway. Parts of a whole, more story to come. Derek Hartfield, NEB radio, the girls who touched his life, Rat who is still a bit of a mystery. Captures you and leaves you wondering.

The 2nd in Murakami's rat trilogy illustrates his growing style for writing in a non linear, pseudo stream of consciousness style.  The fondness for the radio station guy calling out of the blue, his love for cats and dogs, and the theme of obsession.  Murakami loads his books with oddball characters which keeps you reading, wanting to know where he is taking you. The still unnamed narrator's memoir like journey with the nameless twins.  We learn somewhat more about Rat who is an very unhappy guy, but yet remains somewhat of a mystery.    The narrator's obsession over pinball has an quirky resolution you probably wouldn't find in other stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed both stories 

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