South of the Border, West of the Sun (SqueakyChu's Bookray)
30 journalers for this copy...
I bought this trade paperback at the Friends of the Library Used Book Store in Wheaton, Maryland. I have enjoyed other writing (particularly The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) by this author.
I was very impressed with this book the more I read. The rhythm of the book reflected the mood of Hajime, a child in Japan growing into a middle age with a somewhat unremarkable life. The experience which began to change his life was the occasional return of Simamoto, a woman to whom he was attracted in his youth.
Like other Murakami novels, not all questions are answered...leaving some interpretation and questions of magic to the reader. The simple, flowing story is easy to read and quite enchanting.
In everyone's life, there are some haunting encounters. It's what we do with them and how they play themselves out that lead to our future content or discontent. Hajime's situation was certainly one which led to his becoming a more vibrant participant in his own life. Begin International Bookray (05/10/04)
SqueakyChu (Maryland) done
florafloraflora (DC) done
Ilios (Florida) done
Joanthro (Colorado) done
goygirrl (California) done
lightwavz (Michigan) done
SandDanz (Indiana) done
petaloka (New York) done
ottoshumato (Wisconsin) done
therubycanary (Tennessee) done -- Stop # 10
Rrrcaron (New Hampshire) done <--1 year of travel
titihood (Canada) done
maupi (Netherlands) done
arturogrande (England) done
R-W (England) done
tagesmann (England) done
quico (Portugal) done
terpsicore (Portugal) done
Polliejean (Germany) done
katayoun (Iran) done -- Stop # 20
<--2 years of travel
totoroandmei (Japan) done
sydney2259 (Australia) done
blakkat-BNE (Australia) done
Sugaryfun (Australia) done
jubby (Australia) done
ajsmom (Canada) done
sweetybeans (Oregon) done
midwinter (Arizona) done
azuki (Florida, USA) done <-- 3 years of travel
Opinicus (Florida, USA) -- Stop #30 End International Bookray (01/01/08)
This bookray ended because there was no further word of it since 07/28/07 when the book's location was confirmed as Tarpon Springs, Florida. As of 01/01/08, it was # 54 on BC's list of 100 Most Travelled Books
. Durings its 3 1/2 year journey, it had 3O stops including 9 countries and 13 different US States. Cheers to the book and its readers! Update:
On 04/30/09, this book was knocked off of the 100 Most Travelled Books list by books that have travelled more. Keep on trackin'.... :)
Arrived today. Thanks so much, Squeaky! The Boston Globe says this is Murakami's "most deeply moving novel". I can't wait to read it! I have another bookring ahead of this one, but it won't take long.
UPDATE May 27th: I've finally finished my other bookring book. I'm heading to the beach for the weekend and I'm excited about starting on this while I'm there. I'll journal when I'm finished.
I read this book in a weekend at the beach, gulping it down in long stretches, never wanting to put it down. The last sentence left me in sort of a silent daze. As soon as I snapped out of it I took the picture at left.
How can I explain the exquisite emotional quality of this novel? It's not just that Murakami is insightful, or sincere, or tactful, or that he comes up with gorgeous images, although all those things are true. Beyond that, I think what makes this novel so great is the author's wonderful artistic judgment. The ineffable knack that's mentioned several times in the novel is exactly what Murakami uses to allow us to understand so well the mind of a man in what could crudely be called a midlife crisis. In simple declarative sentences he lets us see Hajime's predicament just as the character sees it himself.
I'm a little spoiled from reading the translation of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Jay Rubin, who worked in person with Murakami to achieve the smoothest, most vivid rendition I've ever read of a Japanese novel, but Philip Gabriel's translation of this book is pretty good. Although it has a few awkward spots it lets the emotional nuances of Murakami's writing shine through.
I will PM Ilios for her address and send this book right out so she can enjoy it too.
Mailed off today to Ilios in Florida. Happy reading!
Got it today in the mail. Thank you so much for the beautiful postcard, florafloraflora! I will update this journal entry as soon as I am done.
My deepest apologies for having this book more than 30 days. Life caught up with me and I became a book hogger despite my best efforts! :o( I have been studying for my board certification in Behavior Analysis and my reading time was spent studying instead of reading for fun. I am getting back on track and hope to send this book on its journey pretty soon. I expect to be done with this book by next week and I already have Joanthro's address. Again, my apologies to all.
ps: on the bright side, I did pass the certification exam! :o)
This is a picture of Aoyama cemetery, with a modern building in the background (maybe Haijime's condo?):o). After reading the book, I felt the need to do a little research about the places mentioned in it, and I found this picture. I thought it would be nice to share it with you all.
I absolutely loved this book. As I mentioned to Squeakychu, one of the things I liked the most was being suprised by Murakami's style. This is not your typical Asian prose. It's not poetic. It is blunt, piercing, and transparent. I caught myself thinking about Camus, and L'Étranger, while reading this. Although not as tragic as the French book, I thought Haijime's feelings of nothingness and despair mirrored existentialist works. I will definitely keep this author's name in mind next time I'm at the bookstore.
I am sending this to Joanthro on Friday, August 6th.
Journal Entry 7
post office in snail mailed to a fellow bookcrosser as part of a bookring, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, August 06, 2004
Released on Friday, August 06, 2004
at post office
in snail mailed to a fellow bookcrosser as part of a bookring, Bookring Controlled Releases.
Sending to Joanthro today. I hope you'll enjoy it.
PS for Squeakychu: You can edit the book details so as to change the book's author if you want. You're the only one who can change that, because you're the first registrant. Good luck!
received this in the mail yesterday - looking forward to reading it!
I really enjoyed this book - thanks so much for introducing me to this author SqueakyChu! And thanks Ilios for adding to my reading experience by posting the picture of the Aoyama cemetary!
I don't think I can add too much to any of the excellent reviews before mine. I think they all captured what I experienced and thought about as I read the book. The book was paced like a quiet, introspective evening at a good jazz club and I loved the personal narrative style created by only knowing Hajime by his first name (in Western terms) and Shimamoto only by her family name.
(mailed Sept 15)
Received this in the mail last week. Starting on it tonight, can't wait. Thanks
This was a beautiful, but devastating book. It was a departure from the usual Murakami style - not psychadelic or magical, but with a deep sense of mystery for the things we can't know and can't speak of. You will long remember the love between these characters. Sending this on to lightwavz. Enjoy this wonderful writer!
I received word from goygirrl that this book was mailed "several weeks ago" and word from lightwavz that it was never received and that Detroit is "notorious for misplacing things". Hope it shows up somewhere! :-(
HOORAY! All is not lost! This one crawled into my mailbox today looking a little road weary but still in good shape. I am disgruntled with my latest read so I will start this one right away! Thanks!
Enthralling and amazing. I really thought that no other Murakami novel could top "Norwegian Wood" in my mind, but this one does. I am going to buy a personal copy of this one and re-read it a couple of times. The imagery shared between Hajime and Shimamoto is so delicately beautiful and disturbing!
"Before long, all the sounds around me - the clamor of the people at the bar, the piano trio's music - all faded in the distance, as if the tide had gone out. Only she and I remained. Everything else was an illusion, papier-mache props on a stage. What existed, what was real, was the two of us."
I have no doubts now that Murakami has just surpassed all other authors as my "favorite," as trite as that may sound.
I have a package going to SandDanz this week in which I will enclose this one!
Well, what a surprise! I was expecting one bookring from lightwavz and found two in the package... so much for being almost caught up with bookrings... LOL! I'll add this to the stack and get to it soon.
Journal Entry 15
Post office in Bookray, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Released on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 at about 2:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
at Post office
in Bookray, A Bookray Controlled Releases.
Couldn't stop reading this book once I started it. VERY GOOD!!! It wasn't what I was expecting at all! I'm hoping to read more of Haruki Murakami's work now that I've read this one. I hope everyone else enjoys this book as much as I did! On its way to petaloka now! :)
Got it in the mail today. Thank you! I'll start it tonight.
A beautiful, beautiful book. Murakami can put to words the subtle and sublime like none I have read before. Of his 3 books that I have read this is my favorite. Thank you so much SqueakyChu for sharing this book.
Mailed it out to ottoshumato today.
Kind of a strange book. I think I like Murakami, but not quite so much as I'm supposed to. This is the second of his that I've read, and it's the second in which some elements of the plot are unresolved at the end. I would normally give an author the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was deliberate, but I notice little inconsistencies in his plots sometimes and wonder whether it's bourgeois of me to get hung up on them.
That said, it was a very quick read, and entertaining (not to mention sexy.) Thanks for sharing!
CAUGHT IN MADISON WISCONSIN UNITED STATES
OOPS. The last journal entry was mine. Didn't realize I wasn't signed in! What a dope.
I came back from a short trip to Montreal, and this was waiting for me in the mail. I love when that happens! I've already started it and am finding it an interesting perspective on young sexual experimentation in Japan. I'm a little surprised at how similiar it is to some people's experiences in the US.
I have to say that I really didn't like this book as much as everyone else. Although the author has a very good sense of meter and readability, the tortured mind of a 40-year-old child doesn't really interest me right now.
It is really interesting to see that the problems of fidelity and marriage are so similar cross culturally, but overall I didn't really get into the story, and found the two main characters to be juvenile and slightly annoying.
Mailed March 22.
I received this book in the mail today. I have a few rings ahead of it, but I will get to it as soon as I can
Sending this book to titihood in Canada today. Sorry I held it so long. I'm way behind and too busy. Hope the rest of you enjoy the read!
Forgot to say that I'll send it global priority- so it should get there really fast!
Journal Entry 26
on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Got back from the UK yesterday and this was waiting for me (along with some other books). Am really looking forward to reading it, will start it ASAP.
Journal Entry 27
on Saturday, September 10, 2005
Murakami has arrived in Amsterdam. Thank you all.
I've heard so much about M., never read anything by him though. I'll try to read without prejudice, I do prefer to form a personal opinion before joining heated Murakami discussions!
Journal Entry 28
on Thursday, October 13, 2005
Sadly, I didn't like this book. I agree a lot with therubycanary. The main character is an annoying, narcissistic brat. He has no regard for the feelings of others and is feeling really sorry for himself because he can't help hurting other people while he's living his selfish life. That's easy. Just blame fate and the others. He makes a huge mistake as a teenager, which can happen, it's tragic, that's life. What does our hero learn from this, though? Sure, he was wrong, but how could he have acted differently? So he just bumbles on and repeats the experience later in life. Stupid man.
aren't depicted in a favourable light, either. Apparently it's all about their appearances and wearing designer clothes. They haven't heard of emancipation and living your own life. This is of course a huge misrepresentation of Japanese women. Shame on Murakami, who didn't manage to take off his male chauvinistic glasses.
The loose ends did not convince me. I am not so thrilled about people acting mysteriously about their lives. Naturally, one doesn't have to tell everybody everything, but why does Shimamoto's life have to be left completely in the dark? What's the point? Similarly, why does Hajime tell us how he follows this classy woman for almost an hour, telling us he's not sure if this is Shimamoto and that this is "a strange incident, whose meaning, even now, I can't totally understand"
. Well, he stalks a woman for a long stretch, doesn't have the guts to address her and gives it some pathetic meaning by telling us how he was bribed. How unconvincing. Is this how mediocre people try to spice up their lives? Does he make the bribe up, is this why the non-existing money has vanished later on in the novel? What else is the function of this mystery?
I was in for a good read. At first, the juvenile main character got on my nerves, but I was still prepared to like the book. I do not have to feel sympathy for a main character. Then the clichéd metaphors and generally the style got to me ("... with hair so gorgeous she looked like she belonged in a shampoo commercial"
!!!). At the beginning, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. After all, this is a first-person narrative. The first person is a mediocre man, his language will reflect this. However, the book just isn't well written.
I will have to try another Murakami. I have heard many favourable reports, esp. from readers and writers whose opinion I value. I will certainly take care to pick one translated by Jay Rubin.
arturogrande is next, as soon as I have the address, the book will travel on!
It's here - thank you very much. A lot of rings have arrived at the same time, but I love Murakami, and I'll try to get to this one as soon as I can.
This is a stunning piece of writing. It's the third Murakami I've read, and the way he uses language just blows me away. I only wish I knew Japanese so I could read his work in the original, rather than in translation.
I found this to be a departure from Murakami's usual way of telling a story. It was much more straightforward and dispensed with most of the metaphysical aspects, although I was left wondering how much of it had actually happened and how much was in Hajime's head.
I agree that he was not a particularly likeable character, but I felt that made him more believeable, as I've yet to meet a flawless human being.
The fact that a number of aspects of the story were left hanging - what was the significance of Izumi's altered appearance, did the bribe really happen - did not ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all, as I always feel a little short changed if things are all neatly wrapped up at the end.
Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful book, SqueakyChu. robert-walker has changed his screen name to R-W, so he is next in line to receive it.
Now here with me in Rotherham, will read soon. Thanks arturogrande for passing the book on.
I enjoyed reading this though not my favorite Murakami novel, that award goes to The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. But the way Murakami tells stories, his stlye keeps me captivated from begining to end, he is fast becoming one of my favorite writers alongside Mishima, Camus and Hemingway. I also lke the way that you never really fully know Murakami's characters, take Shimamoto for example, what happened during all those years that she and Hajime were apart other than the fact that her baby died? Shimamoto's father, he makes this deal with Hajime to use his name in a business venture, you know something dodgey is going to go down yet Murakami leaves us guessing, what happened to the money Hajime kept in his drawer, did it disappear or was it not there in the first place? I guess we will never know.
So even though this was not my favorite of Murakami's works it was still an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading him again.
This book will be on its way very soon. Thanks SqueakyChu for including me in this ring
Journal Entry 33
on Thursday, December 15, 2005
Received today. I should hopefully start to read it next week.
Journal Entry 34
on Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I don't think I have read a better exploration and demonstration of male selfishness, the immaturity and lack of understanding of others is almost autistic. I think is suffered a bit through the translation but otherwise thoroughly enjoyable.
I am waiting for FieryFairy to send me her details. I understand this could take a while as she has limited access to e-mail.
Journal Entry 35
on Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Posted to quico today.
Safely arrived! Thnaks for sharing, SqueakyChu! Thanks for sending it to me and for the lovely bookmark, d-o-m!
I'll read it asap.
A story of a star-crossed love, told by one of the protagonists. How much of this tale is true, we will never know - there are things Hajime doesn't know or maybe he just can't notice them.
This is my third Murakami book. I started with "The elephant vanishes", then it was "Sputnik sweetheart" and now this one. I'm hooked!
This will be posted to Terpsicore as soon has i get her addres.
Received today (that was fast!).will start immediatly.
My first Murakami.I had bought Norwegian Wood but I haven't managed to read it yet.
I really enjoyed this one.And I didn't find the main character so unlikable.He's simply human.
It echoed the void I suppose we all feel from time to time.A bit depressing, come to think of it.
Will PM Pollyjean forher address.
mailed a few hours ago to polliejean in Germany.
I received the book this weekend. I have three other bookrings to read presently, but 2 are almost finished, so I guess I won´t take too long with this one. And I can already tell I will enjoy it. Thanks terpsicore for sending it to me from Portugal.
Once I started it, couldn´t stop reading and during 3 days I kind of travelled back to my past. This book got deep in my mind, my feelings, it seemed it was written for me, almost. It´s kind of sad to say that, since the book`s love story is not exactly the most successful one... Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book so much, that I already subscribed to other Murakami´s rings. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this ring. And I wish a very pleasant reading to all the next bookcrossers.
I´ll send the book to Poland, as soon as I get the address.
Sending the book today by post to katayoun, in Iran.
thanks the book is here (got there before the holidays, 2 days ago, and my computer is going crazy, today i'm on, tomorrow who know!! :)) and i've just started it.
update: still reading and it's very good. sorry that it's taking longer than what i thought, but have just started a new project and ahhhhhhhhhhhh it's killing me :) would hopefully be done soon and mail it
ummmmmmmm, well i don't think i can say much about it, i definitely didn't understand half of it, if not all!! and i really, really liked it. the writing flowed and there were moments/sentences/paragraphs there that you just wanted to yell "yes"! nothing profound and yet talking about the ordinary in a new way? explaining things that afterwards you'd think ofcourse, i knew that, talking about day to day feeling in this most bizarre story. ok, i said that i can't say much, as i think what i'm writing doesn't make any sense!! :) let's start again, it was this beautiful mix of ordinary and extra-ordinary and told in such a simple, flowing way... ok i better stop right here. thanks so much SqueakyChu and Polliejean and i would be mailing the book soon in a couple of days.
sorry for the tardiness, the book is on it's way to totoroandmei and i am so jealous of it that it's going to japan!!!
Thanks SqueakyChu for sharing and Katayoun for mailing. Got one book ahead of this but hope to read it in the next couple of weeks. Thanks!
Update -- Sorry I didn't journal earlier. I sent the book out by surface mail around July 15th. I enjoyed the book a lot and look forward to reading more books by the author. It was interesting reading this in Japan and had interesting conversations with friends about the author.
Journal Entry 50
on Thursday, September 07, 2006
The book arrived safely today and is next up on my reading list. I plan to start this weekend. Thank you for sharing :)
Journal Entry 51
on Friday, September 15, 2006
I found this book difficult to get into at first, but am happy to have continued on with it. Am posting it on to the next participant when I confirm their mailing address. Thank you for sharing the book.
Journal Entry 52
on Monday, September 18, 2006
This book is being posted away to the next person this morning. Happy Reading :)
This arrived a few days ago - sorry about the delay in journalling it, things have been a wee might hectic. I shall try and get around to reading this shortly but please forgive me if I'm delayed.
I got a chance to read this over the weekend whilst in a waiting room. I think this is my favourite Murukami book so far.
Will pass on to Sugaryfun once I have their details.
It arrived safely today. I'll get onto reading it as soon as I can. I have a couple of other ring books first, but once uni's over for the semester (in another week's time) I should start getting through some books more quickly.
Note to self: Don't sign up for *quite* so many bookrings at once.
This one looked so interesting I couldn't help myself!
I just finished it, and I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, especially the ending. I really enjoyed parts of it, though. I love the part where Hajime's wife says no one has ever called her pretty before, and he says "I'm the only one who knows". It kind of sums up the subjective nature of love.
Thanks heaps, Squeakychu, for sharing this book, and Blakkat- BNE for sending it on. I'll send it on its way early next week.
Posted off to Jubby today.
Yay!! Look, another Huruki Murakami bookring has just arrived in the post.
I am currently reading 'Sputnik Sweetheart' (if you are interested in joining this bookring, contact blakkat-BNE).
Thank you for sharing this book with me.
Like those in this bookring before me, I have read a couple of this author's books already (Kafka on the shore, Dance, dance, dance, Sputnik sweethear).
I greatly enjoyed this book, and we intrigued with the women of this story. Who are they? Are they nature? I just knew that there was going to be twist. But, after 'Kafka on the shore' I thought their was going to be a spirit or ghost involved.
Not that this plot was not brilliantly crafted.
I can just hear my mother's much used expression 'Do unto others...'. It seems that it really does apply.
Thank you for sharing this book with me.
PS - Do you think the 'Robin Nest' was based on the author's own club? I read somewhere that he really did have a jazz club.
Journal Entry 60
Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Released 12 yrs ago (11/29/2006 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posted to Ajsmom in Canada.
Having read "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" and "Wild Sheep Chase", I was a little disappointed in the 'everyday-ness' of this book - I was expecting the far-out, but it never showed up. Having said that, though, I liked the writing and will certainly not give up on Murakami! I waffled between being interested in Hajime's 'dilemma' and being annoyed with him for being so self-centred. As a business owner and a parent, I can't possibly conceive of having ANY time at all for an affair, so that ticked me off a little - but I think that was my bias in reading as a Western woman. I don't know what a Japanese woman would make of all Hajime's indiscretions (2 or 3 or...). I can appreciate the idea of The Great Love and not wanting to pass it up, even if it means giving up everything else in your life, but at a parallel age and profession to the main character, I had a little bit of trouble with it.
In any case, I am grateful for the chance to read the book and I will send it along as soon as I have the next address.
Journal Entry 64
By mail in Fellow Bookcrosser, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, December 28, 2006
Released 12 yrs ago (12/28/2006 UTC) at By mail in Fellow Bookcrosser, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent to sweetybeans via air mail.
just received today - one book ahead and then i will read this one :)
Thanks for sharing this book with me. i couldn't put it down for the last three days. Murakami's writing is wonderful and i really felt i was part of the book. however the end of the book left me with so many questions i felt disappointed... i felt that i really didn't know the characters deeply (just a personal preference)...i also wondered if some of what happened to hajime was imagined... still overall i was intrigued and am interested in reading more of his books...
ldpaulson asked to be skipped so going to PM the next person
still waiting for a response from midwinter :)
got an address last night and sent out in the mail today :)
It's here :) I've got a couple of books in the queue ahead, but should be able to get to this soon!
I recently read The Wild Sheep Chase, so I was fully prepared to devour this book - I was not dissapointed. I read this in two sittings, and have been feeling withdrawl ever since I finished. The prose is simple - stripped down - and goes right to the heart of things. Yes, the narrator is an overgrown child, but he's up front about that, and the story stays true to his character. The themes of love and loss and regret are powerful, and several poignant moments in the book resonated deeply with me. It's almost like Murakami writes in the same "voice" as my own inner monologue. I'm always swept away by his books, and can't wait to read more. Mailing to azuki today.
This well traveled book has made it to Florida again, after almost three years. : ) It has been a long while since I read Norwegian Woods and didn't quite get it, so I look forward to give Murakami a second try. I have three books ahead of this but shouldn't take too long.
My feelings of this book is somewhat mixed, although I tend to side with the "not-like-it" group a little more. How can I put this...? The writing style is rather skilled and Murakami captures the scenes and moods very well. On the other hand, I don't really care about the story of this man's midlife crisis.
One thing I find very weird and want to see what everybody thinks: Hajime calls his wife Yukiko and his first girlfriend Izumi, by first names. Shimamoto addresses him by first name, but Hajime, even during their love-making, calls her Shimamoto, and to top it, with the honorific "san (Ms)" at the end - Ms. Shimamoto. I find it really weird. I can't imagine making love to someone and saying, I love you, Mr. XX... There got to be some significance... He considers her a world apart? She is like a goddess, an idol?
ETA: Mailed book on 3/20.