South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami

South of the Border, West of the Sun

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The plot is simple: Hajime meets and falls in love with a girl in elementary school, but he 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

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.
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Like no other Murakami creates a world so deep that you may find yourself thinking about his meanings constantly.

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loved this book. melancholic yet hopeful. the main hero is quite selfish , reserved man and it makes it even more interesting to see how he go through obstacles in his way to find "something" at south of the border, we of the sun.
murakami knows how to end books perfectly.

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This post war Japan narrative is beautifully written. I especially like how Murakami explores the protagonist's feelings by making him have a fortuitous rendezvous with his childhood love when he is already married. His succumbing is as beautiful as it is moment of truth which defies the expectations associated with "moving on" - especially considering that he already had children with a wife he claimed to love.

Existential too, considering the protagonist's formative years as a single child...

And who can forget the jazz inflected scenes - utterly aesthetically fulfilling. ~

I was no longer alone, yet at the same time I felt a deep loneliness I’d never known before
No matter what happened, she’d manage a smile
She was probably too cool, too self-possessed. Some of our classmates must have thought her cold and haughty. But I detected something else—something warm and fragile just below the surface. Something very much like a child playing hide-and-seek, hidden deep within her, yet hoping to be found.
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