Friday, May 14, 2004

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

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


My first introduction to Murakami came with the "Wild Sheep Chase", which established a pretty high bar to follow. This book, "South of the Border, West of the Sun" had its moments, but overall failed to impress too much upon me.



In retrospect, the book was better than I originally gave it credit for. Perhaps that is the result of me reading pretty quickly and thus my first impressions are sometimes a bit rushed.



Overall, the book the often-repeated Murakami pattern of a boring, or at least static, present triyng to come to terms with a haunted post-WWII childhood. There is the obligatory semi-suicidal femme fatale, and a character who begins feeling more and more out of place in his reality. As the book goes on we delve into the past of the characters and being to understand the events that have shaped them. [spoiler]There is the repeated (from book to book) pattern of becoming estranged from a wife only to come closer to her in the end.[/spoiler]



Like the author's other books, we have two female characters, but in this case I felt The Wife was very well written, with more exposition and finesse than in other works. It is hard to go into details and not spoil the books twists and turns, but for anyone who is a fan of Murakami, or good contemporary literary fiction in general, this is a worthwhile read.

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