Book Review : South of the Border, West of the Sun


South of the Border, West of the Sun” is 1992 novel, written by “The Franz Kafka Prize” winner Haruki Murakami and translated from Japanese to English in 1999 by Philip Gabriel.

Like Norwegian Wood, South of the border refers song sung by Nat King Cole. Hajime, Protagonist of Novel, and his childhood friend Shimamoto were listening “South of the border” on stereo at Shimamoto’s house.

“South of the Border, West of the Sun” is a short melancholic novel. Growing up in the suburbs in post-war Japan, it seemed to Hajime that everyone had brothers and sisters except him. His sole companion was Shimamoto, who suffers from polio, also an only child. They spend most of their time together talking about their interests in life and listening to records on Shimamoto’s stereo. But when his family moved away, they lost touch.

Hajime growing with the story and reach to thirties with Yukiko, his loving wife, and two daughters and running 2 Jazz bar. Then Shimamoto re appears. She is beautiful, intense and enveloped in mystery. Despite his current situation, meeting Shimamoto again sets off a chain of events that eventually forces Hajime to choose between his wife and family or attempting to recapture the magic of the past.

I already wrote about Haruki Murakami and about his novel “Norwegian wood”.  “South of the Border, West of the Sun” is not that level story but later part of the story is really interesting as Norwegian wood. It is simple and short story. You can complete this book in single sitting.  .

Hajime – The Protagonist, who is catapulted into the past, putting at risk all he has in the present.

Izumi – Girlfriend of Hajime in junior school time. He fall in love with her and broke up later.

Yukiko – Wife of Hajime.

Shimamoto – One of the important characters of story and childhood friend of Hajime. She reappears after decades and puts Hajime into the situation where he has to choose his wife or his past.

Overall book is good. I am giving 2.5/5 rating to this book.

Book Details

Cover Page - South of the Border, West of the Sun

Cover Page - South of the Border, West of the Sun

Name : South of the Border, West of the Sun

Author: Haruki Murakami (Official website)

Country: Japan

Language: English (Original in Japanese)

Genre: Novel

Publisher: Vintage International

Buy: Amazon

!!! Enjoy Reading !!!

This entry was posted in book review, Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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