Tag Archives: Japanese

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


Title: South of The Border, West of The Sun
Author: Haruki Murakami
Language: English
Format: Paperback


Hajime was the only child. Nobody could understand him, apart from the other only child at school, Shimamoto. When they grew up they went to different school and lost contact. But of course, I wouldn’t tell you the whole story, because what’s the point then? If you want to read the synopsis you could click here, and if you would like to read my review you can just go on.

This book reminds me a little about Norwegian Wood. I couldn’t say that I have the same feeling about them though. Because, although in a way I love Norwegian Wood more, I could relate to South of The Border more. South of The Border is not as dark and gloomy as Norwegian Wood, although dark and gloomy is still the theme of the book.

Unlike Norwegian Wood — South of The Border’s plot is really fast. It is almost as if I am watching a film while fast forwarding to the interesting bit only. Sometimes, I wish Murakami would elaborate more about some part of the story. That’s probably why I liked Norwegian Wood better than South of The Border. But I should stop comparing these books and focusing on South of The Border from now.

The main characer, Hajime do me anything. I don’t like him too much. I have to say that I don’t really like Shimamoto either. But somehow, these two people that I don’t really like could make a beautiful story between them. How bizarre! It is as if doesn’t matter how flawed the character, as long as in this book their existence complemented the other.

The ending… I really wish it could end differently, but I am glad it didn’t. I think it couldn’t be better than that. I think the whole plot was meant to lead to that kind of closure.

It is one of few books that I had to practically put so much efforts to put down. It was late and I was sleepy, but my eyes were glued to the page of this book. When I reached the last page, I was so sad the story ends there.

Of course, I would recommend this book. It is perfect for summer reading, or for people who is new to “foreign literature”. I rated this book 4 out of 5.



Book Review: Norwegian Wood


Title: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Listening to The Beatles’ song Norwegian Wood, Toru Watanabe was reminded of his life when he was a Drama student in one of the universities in Tokyo. The year was the late 60s and the early 70s, and Watanabe’s life was among the modern youth movement, more and more books, great musics (which is entirely subjective to my taste. Yay!) and of course the adventure of casual sex. It was also the year of self discovery, and when Watanabe found himself in between the past and the present.

This is the first book by Haruki Murakami I have ever read. Yes. Isn’t it just surprising?

I have heard about this book for ages, and I would love to read it. From the reviews I have seen before, the readers have given this a really high recommendation. Of course I have a really huge expectation when I started to read this book, and I know I should not have done it. But never mind, this book has fulfilled my expectation anyway. I was not disappointed at all.

The book was narrated by the main character Toru Watanabe. It was interesting to access the mind of a introvert teenage boy discovering life and growing up. I found it so easy to like Watanabe, and most of other characters in the book. Heck, I love all the characters in the book, not necessarily like them, but love them nonetheless — even the most vile ones.


I love how this novel was written. It was written in a no-nonsense, simple, and straight forward attitude (you know like how a teenage student would), and yet it was beautifully penned (or typed…). I can still feel the presence of cultural influence, although it was translated to English (unfortunately I can’t speak Japanese 😦 ), I can still enjoy the detailed description of the picturesque Japanese countryside or the busy Tokyo.

I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. It has touched my darkest sense of humour like no other novel has ever done before. It was witty, and funny, and it could depict the most profane sex scene without being crass (if that makes sense?).

Do you know what? I can’t believe it was written only a couple of years after I was born. I can’t believe that this book is almost as old as I am and yet it seems so modern. The story feels so relevant and incredibly easy to relate even today. I am not surprised that this is considered as one classics everybody should read. I am not surprised that Murakami has been considered as one of the best living legend in the world literature history.

Obviously, I would recommend this book to everybody who hasn’t read this. I might be the last person in the world that hasn’t read this book, but if there’s the next generation reading this review, I would still want them to read this book. This is definitely one book you have to read before you die. And I would rate it 5 stars out of 5.