South of the Border, West of the Sun: Haruki Murakami

South of the Border, West of the Sun is a good travel read. I liked the title, it seems mysterious. The existence of a yearning in every person, yearning for dreams to come true.. the inexplicable sense of emptiness when you know that there is something more.. but that its left behind or is not in your destiny.. is well elucidated in the book.

But ironically, as in Hajime's life, there is something missing in the book.. I understand the protagonist's feelings in theory, but I dont feel them with him. I can see why he's wistful of the past, but frankly I don't care. Maybe because the language felt so flat. I wonder if its because its a translation. Or maybe I expected some Japanese-ness(?) to the language. A lot of the phrases and words used seem very American, so the characters don't come across as Japanese or of any particular culture. That should probably be a good thing, shouldn't it, to be able to write across borders. But I like to read non-English author's works as it gives a sense of the place, of the people, their culture. I think I had a lot of expectations from the book.
All said, the book is a decent read so I will definitely give a try to one of Haruki Murakami's more famous books.

For lack of anything more apt to say, this book was just a case of lost in translation for me.


Accidental Fame Junkie said...

Hi RA! Yeah 2 years late but so what? :) I do like this book exactly because of its explicable quality. Somethings are best left unsaid. Btw, you did hit on what most people consider to be a Murakami trademark - the Americanness of his Japanese characters. I think it kind of adds a universality that perhaps makes the book more accessible than it would have been.

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