I’ve been a fan of Haruki Murakami ever since I read my first book by him, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. After that, the next several books I read by him were all top notch and I loved them all. In fact I wrote about several of them: Norwegian Wood and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle being two of my other favorites. I enjoyed Murakami so much I even translated one of his stories into English: All of God’s Children Dance. However, lately I’ve read many other of his books and found nothing special about them. Nothing to write about anyway. I thought maybe I was getting bored with Murakami or recognizing his “formula.” None of them really struck me like Wonderland or Wind-up Bird. I found them to be very forgettable. I’m happy to say that South of the Border, West of the Sun was different. It was short, beautiful, and sad. I finished it in just two days because it was such a short read. I think the best stories are short.
Not many books change how you feel after you finish them. The last few chapters of South of the Border, West of the Sun are so profoundly depressing, though, that it changed my mood completely. I love tragedies and I love sad stories. I think this book can’t be called a tragedy, but it is definitely a “sad story.” If you also like sad stories, or are looking to get into Murakami, then I recommend South of the Border, West of the Sun entirely. Norwegian Wood would also be a good nomination. If you are looking for a Murakami book to read and enjoy more supernatural stories then I would have to recommend Wonderland or Wind-up Bird.
I’m glad I have more time to read books lately. I’ve already managed to get through four books now since I finished school last month. Which is good, because I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read.