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harkuki murakami - south of the border west of the sun

South of the border west of the sun

Kokkyō no minami, taiyō no nishi


First published in Japan by Kodansha (1992)
Translated by Philip Gabriel

UK edition published 2000 by Vintage:
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN-10: 0099448572

US edition published 2000 by Vintage:
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0679767398

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.

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 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. 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 (from




Brilliant page with reviews and links from The Complete Review

An Enchanting Futile Quest (from TimeAsia) By Hilary Roxe

Love Hurts In Haruki Murakami's latest novel, two childhood sweethearts discover their love years later. NY Times review by MARY HAWTHORNE

New York Metro review by Alexandra Lange review By Ray Sawhill

The wikipedia page on the novel

Review Summary of South of the Border, West of the Sun

A book review by Danny Yee

First chaper of the novel from the NY Times

Review by Colin Marshall

A Simple, Surreal, and Genuine Romance Like No Other - Nice review of South of the Border, West of the Sun by Wilfred Wong