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      Antoine Online

      South Of The Border, West Of The Sun

      by Haruki Murakami
      Our price: LBP 66,405 / $ 44.27Available
      *Estimated delivery time in Lebanon is from 2 to 5 working days
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      *Due to the high demand, this last copy may not still be available at the time of processing the order.
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      Product Details

      • Publisher: Vintage
      • Publishing date: 01/06/2000
      • Language: English
      • ISBN-13: 9780099448570
      • ISBN: 0099448572

      Synopsis

      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:
      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

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      • Enjoyable, but not Murakami's best
        From Amazon

        This is unlike other Murakami books I've previously read, but it is still enjoyable nevertheless. Unlike the bizzaro, surreal universe Murakami usually operates in, the setting for this story is very much rooted in the present day and world. There is still a dream-like, hallucinatory quality to the story, but there's not much of the supernatural or fasntastical. I agree with other reviewers that not much happens in this book, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Even though the bizzare is kept to a minimum, I was still excited about following the protagonist's story. This is a sort of coming-of-age story of a middle-aged, successful jazz club owner who was too "satisfied" with his life when a childhood love re-appeared in his life and rocked the boat. Murakami successfully created an ambience that transported me to the midst of the story, which I loved. Overall, this was an enjoyable read but is not as good as some of Murakami's other works.

      • Uh, what was this all about?
        From Amazon

        What a letdown. This is my first novel by Murakami, and the reviews had me full of anticipation. The first few chapters showed an easy flowing style that kept up a good pace, even as they carried plenty of insight. But I agree with the other reviewers here who simply disliked the narrator and main character Hajime. He pouts half of his life, until he finally gets married. (Who would want him?) He then claims to love his wife and kids and his new job, but he has a very selfish streak that keeps him living in the past. His wife's (Yukiko) weak character development is deliberate, I'm sure, but I would have liked to see more of it...her father gets more than she does. So then Hajime supposedly runs into the love of selfish little life, the beautiful Shimamoto. She returns to him out of nowhere, refuses to talk about her life, and he is so smitten he obeys. One thing follows another, her mystery entices him, then in the end - SPOILER ALERT! - she disappears forever. Along with other circumstances, we are left wondering if he didnt imagine the whole affair. Well, so where does that leave us poor readers, holding the bag, I guess. Did this really happen, and do we really care? So I'll give SOTBWOTS 3 stars. Pluses for the quality of writing, minuses for the expedient, somewhat stupid climax.

      • Reviews from Brizmus Blogs Books
        From Amazon

        I love Murakami's writing style and the way he always manages to turn a slightly boring character that one would rarely ever think about into something fascinating and almost always strange. This book isn't any exception to that, and I loved it for everything it was, and there was nothing missing from it. It's just so hard, though, not to compare it to everything else I have ever read by him, and because of that, I just can't give it the five stars it perhaps deserves.

      • Hauntingly Beautiful, but Not Murakami's Best
        From Amazon

        Approaching middle age, with a successful career and a loving wife and family, Hajime enjoys what seems on the surface a contented life. Yet something is achingly missing; all his life, he has kindled the warm memory of his long-lost childhood sweetheart, Shimamoto, who had understood him in a way no one else ever would. Both were only children, sharing a solitary nature and a passion for books and music. When Shimamoto unexpectedly reappears in Hajime's life, his desire for her engulfs him, threatening to destroy the life he has built for himself. Though "South of the Border" is on one level a straightforward love story, the novel is infused with the haunting, dreamlike quality Murakami has perfected. There is a sad warmth to Murakami's writing that makes this quick-to-read novel perfect for curling up with on a rainy afternoon. While beautifully written and engrossing, "South of the Border" doesn't quite measure up to the later novel "Norwegian Wood," which contains many of the same themes and inspires in the reader the same bittersweet feeling. Having read both novels, I felt that "Norwegian Wood" was almost a more developed version of the same book, although the latter instead tells the story of a young man coming of age. Like Toru, the protagonist in "Norwegian Wood," Hajime is an intense loner torn between two women, who seem to represent the dueling Freudian impulses of life and death. Shimamoto is a dark, fundamentally broken character who we sense is somehow doomed; while Hajime is irresistibly drawn to her, his wife Yukiko pulls him in the opposite direction, toward life and the present. Those who have read other books by Murakami will recognize some other familiar themes, including the role of music in the novel's plot, suicide, a backdrop of 1960s political upheaval, and an eroticism that permeates the book. Although it is no "Norwegian Wood," this novel blankets you in a sweetly melancholy atmosphere that lingers with you long after you put it down.

      • The Mystery of Romance
        From Amazon

        A quick, fascinating read for people who love love stories. I was blown away, and felt so lucky that I happened to pick this book off the shelf. I read it a few weeks ago and all I can recall is it was a celebration of the power and mystery of romance, an unbidden, uncontrollable, joyful wrecking ball that none can master or understand. My take is since romance often causes more destruction than happiness in our world, it is our world that comes out looking shabby and romance that retains its luster.

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