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Hear the Wind Sing (Japanese) Paperback – 1987

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Product Details

  • Series: Kodansha English Library (Book 26)
  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha (1987)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4061860267
  • ISBN-13: 978-4061860261
  • ASIN: B000I1SJBS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,153,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Harkius VINE VOICE on November 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
... (which was not released in the United States) is quite good for a first novel. I was a bit surprised to read in the other review that the

I won't speculate on the author's intentions. With the exception of Paolo Coelho, I think that the author's of books tend to be more closed-mouthed than readers expect, and their true opinions are too hard to discern to be worth parsing out in fiction, particularly since that isn't the point.

This novel takes place over the course of 18 days in August of 1970. In it, the narrator (whose name we are never given) spends his time as all of Murakami's characters do: Reading, eating, listening to music, and loving enigmatic women. In this case, that would be the girl with four fingers on her left hand.

Like all of Murakami's work, there is a minimalistic, surreal feel to this book. It is more clearly fleshed out in his later novels, and this one feels a lot like a precursor to Norweigan Wood, where I expect that Murakami finally told the story that he wanted to tell (he has expressed dissatisfaction with this book and with its sequel, Pinball, 1973).

This is clearly Murakami, though. I have read several reviews of this that called it tepid, but I wouldn't agree. Instead, I would suggest that in it, Murakami is restrained. He has not yet acquired the ambivalent voice that captures simultaneously the frenetic energy and the silent conservativism of modern Japan. Instead, we are treated to the story of two men who really only have each other. They are friends, but the kind of friends amongst whom silence acts not as a buffer or as a shield, or even as a gulf, but rather as a third member of the party. If you don't recognize that, you simply haven't had a friend like that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Stevens VINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I first read Hear the Wind Sing a good number of years ago; however, like many others reviewing this book, I did not "discover" it until after reading (or should I say "falling in love with") several other works by Murakami: A Wild Sheep Chase (which happens to be the final book of the "Trilogy of the Rat", of which Hear the Wind Sing is the first novel; although, to be perfectly honest, I think Sheep Chase works just fine as a standalone novel), Dance Dance Dance (a sequel to Sheep Chase, although again it works as a standalone), Hard Boiled Wonderland (my favorite Murakami novel), Norwegian Wood, Wind-Up Bird (this seems to be Murakami's most popular in the US, although not in Japan), at least one or two short story collections ... in other words, I was a pretty experienced Murakami hand before coming across his first novel. At the time, I remember enjoying it but thinking that it did not stack up to these later works I had already read and been blown away by ... if anything it felt a bit like a poor man's version of Norwegian Wood, Murakami's best-selling work that also deals with similar themes and is notable for also being relatively light on the "magical realism" which is now Murakami's hallmark. However, still not bad as a first novel by the author that at that time I would've called one of my favorite authors (perhaps even my favorite author).

Over time, however, I became a bit disillusioned with Murakami's recent offerings. Kafka still entertained, but seemed to be missing a bit of the mojo and originality that characterized his earlier works. After Dark was shockingly bad.
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Format: Paperback Bunko
Although readable, this is not an accomplished work. It feels very much like what it is: the work of a young writer. Few of his novels are truly linear, but this is more stream-of-consciousness in approach. One can see the seeds of the mature Murakami, though to read this, one would not guess at the illustrious career to come. Typical of his later work, the main character is an unnamed young man, and various people come in and out of his life. His bar-buddy “Rat” will appear in several of his major novels to come. The narrator and Rat become writers, and the most interesting part of the "Wind/Pinball" edition is Murakami’s preface about how he became a writer. Although this is often referred to as the first in the "Rat Trilogy," it is not essential to the enjoyment of his tour-de-force, "A Wild Sheep Chase." The short episode of the Martian Wells is a glimpse of his future writing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's shorter than I expected, (the book itself is about 5 x 3 inches, so good for a pocket, I suppose), but it's good Murakami. Offers some back-story on characters from Sheep Chase and Dance, and while nothing really mystical or surprising happens it's interesting to read through earlier work by the author. It struck me that his protagonist, who is the same as in Sheep Chase and Dance, is, like the author, much younger and with very different priorities than in the later works. He also has a different outlook, seems more human and vulnerable (not quite as Sam Spade as the author's later characters) which again gives the reader an interesting glimpse of the author as a younger, less experienced author. The translation's not as great as his newer stuff, which I've read he translates himself, but hey, it's "new-to-me" Murakami, so who the hell's complaining?
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