Oft documented on Daisybutter is my love for Murakami. Haruki Murakami is one of those contemporary authors that once you’ve sampled, you can’t resist again. Following my enchantment with both Norwegian Wood and 1Q84 - my two favourites - as well as a handful of other titles, I picked up the short but sweet South of the Border, West of the Sun.
At just 180 pages in relatively medium-large type, SBWS was a light read for me while I was in bed and ill last week. The novel documents the story of Hajime, beginning treacherously in his childhood tapering to middle age. Like many of his works, the novel uses a captivating style that makes you completely empathise with the main character. As an only child in a post-war Japan full of two or three children families, Hajime can’t quite put his finger on what feels different about his lifestyle in comparison. Meeting Shimamoto, another only child, the pair spend most of their time together, simply talking and listening to music.
Suddenly the two are separated when Shimamoto moves school. Hajime struggles through the rest of the school, and the novel catalyses when Hajime marries, starts a family and runs his own business - with the sudden reappearance of Shimamoto.
I love nostalgic tales and Murakami’s simplistic novella style that somewhat always reminds me of fairytales. This is no exception and whilst simple in material with an inevitable (to me, anyway) ending, I enjoyed the casual pace and self-depreciating tones throughout this story. I’d highly recommend this as a light read for fellow Murakami fans and as a easy starter to his work for newbies.