posts on 1/26/2014 6:49:04 AM
Hello, Murakami fans (and others).
I have just finished reading Sputnik Sweetheart, which I loved. But there was one part that left me puzzled (moreso than the rest of the book at least) and that was the final line, in which K looks down to his hands to check for blood. This part made me think that I was *supposed* to imagine something here, but what I am not sure. Does it bring into question the reality of what's just happened? (Sumire calling K from a phonebox) or are we to infer that K has committed some awful act immediately prior to this? Or perhaps, because he says that the blood has already 'seeped inside'. I am happy not to know and no doubt I will draw my own conclusions with a couple more days' thought, but I just wanted to check with others to see if you had any ideas and felt the same after finishing this novel.
posts on 2/20/2013 7:36:04 PM
I' ve finished 'The wind up bird chronicle' about a week ago and I am now somewhat in the beginning of book number two of 1Q84. I must say this book really is addictive. It is one of the nicest love stories i have read in a long time..
Can't wait to begin 'Kafka on the shore' !
posts on 2/27/2012 1:04:23 AM
My thoughts on the ending of "South of the Border, West of the Sun" for those who have been asking about it. I would like to start this off by saying that there is room for numerous interpretations, so please don't stop considering others. I found the disappearance of the 100,000 yen envelope that may or may not ever have existed to be an example of what Shimamoto had said earlier in the novel: "There is no middle ground with me. No middle-ground objects exist, and where there are no such objects, there is no middle ground." That 100,000 yen envelope would be a middle-ground object; it would serve to connect Shimamoto to Hajime while they are not physically together. The same would be true for the Nat King Cole record which mysteriously vanished from the cottage in Hakone.
I feel that Hajime may or may not have seen Izumi in that taxi just as he may or may not have seen Shimamoto. Whether or not he saw Izumi, after he realized he would never see Shimamoto again, Hajime remembered what he had heard about Izumi because he believed he was starting to feel the same way he had made her feel. Something inside him was missing and he would never be able to reclaim or replace it.
As for the very end of the novel, I believe Hajime finally succumbed to his own version of the Siberian insanity Shimamoto had brought up earlier. He had lived his life day by day since marrying Yukiko and the repetition without true meaning was driving him insane. He had begun a quest for meaning by either imagining Shimamoto or actually being with her. Either way, he had shown himself another way his life could be that was filled with much more passion and meaning. Once all hope for that way of life had died, something went dark and missing in Hajime, just as it had in Izumi. He had succumbed to traveling south of the border and west of the sun and found nothing after his illusions had faded. He said near the end of the novel that he felt death was coming for him when Shimamoto almost died in his car, but he may have meant he felt the end of his life with meaning was being threatened instead. There are really so many ways you can read into this novel.
Hopefully this provided some possible answers or at least some material for people to ponder and build new interpretations. =]
posts on 3/6/2011 5:46:13 AM
I just finished this book and have been very moved by it. I was really taken by the romance in it and found the writing and imagery beautiful. I've been really hoping someone would offer ideas on the ending and what they think actually happened.
There seemed to me to be very strong suggestions that he hadn't actually been with Shimamoto at all, IE her only coming when it rained and her disappearance the last time he sees her and also the disappearance of the money. I've read that the book is about the past and the impossibility of recapturing what has been parted with. I can see this. And I think that Hajime arrives at a point where he lets go of what might have been and accepts the reality of his life.
There are some things which are perplexing though, such as the image of the rain falling on a sea with no one there to see it. Is this talking about the possibility of things being recaptured? Shimamoto mentions something similar when scattering her babies ashes.
Well, quite a few things to think about. I can say though that I find the book to be of real substance, and beautiful, and quite heartbreaking.
posts on 6/3/2010 3:35:06 AM
Just wanted anyone that cares to know that Noboru Wataya is alive and well and heading towards a successful political career in the United States. He is going by the name "Arthur C. Brooks" and can be seen most recently on comedy central's the daily show. the similarities are creepy. this man is the exact embodiment of how I imagined Noboru Wataya.
posts on 9/11/2009 6:42:20 AM
I am puzzled about the ending of South of the Border, West of the Sun. I don't understand the meaning of Shimamoto's disappearance and then the money disappearing, can anyone enlighten me please?
posts on 9/5/2008 11:22:38 AM
Does anyone have ideas for good discussion questions about Dance Dance Dance? I haven't read it yet, but I need questions for my book club!
posts on 12/22/2005 7:59:29 AM
i gave up reading books a while ago. i decided that i had read so many books but while i could be interested at some sort of unconscious or subconscious emotional level by them, mostly they meant nothing to me...they did not give me any meaning or affect my understanding. maybe i just dont "get it".
well, i tried with this book (wind up bird chronicle) but again i finished thinking..."eh?". at the start i could get the idea of a man disaffected by work...questioning his life in his own way....going down the well..ok, think about life.... may kasahara... questioning what for most people is automatic... a little like toru... taking time out from the race to reflect.
but, all the weird characters... noboru wataya.... kumiko's decision.... sitting outside shinjuku station.. the guitar players trick.... what was the point of it all? dont get it dont get it dont get it.
read afew reviews which say little clearly but say mostly that the book is about japan's war guilt ...eh? the war is surely just a minor background story... no? mostly this seems to be a personal book.... with something philosophical going on..?
and why write a book that is so opaque? is it supposed to be a cute puzzle or a meaningful communication?
i actually enjoyed the first half or so... the writing style, even in translation, is very smooth and attractive... but.... on the whole i was lost.
anybody read this and want to give me their honest and unpretentious input?
posts on 10/27/2005 12:27:00 AM
I bought a copy of this in Perth and found that the print and font in the book (particularly in the first 50 pages) is variable and is very faint on some pages (pp 25-30). I took it back to the retailers but all copies of the book they had were the same. Is this in all copies of this book - or was the faint print and variable (and hard to read font) intentional by Murakami and the publishers?
If it intentional I'll cope - otherwise I'll complain to Random House about it.
Comments from anyone withis book to me at firstname.lastname@example.org would be gratefully received
posts on 9/12/2005 8:27:58 AM
anyone have any ideas about the meaning of the ending of the book ?
posts on 8/2/2005 3:59:54 PM
Well, I think this book is very interesting. Adventure combined with philosofical aspects make the book exciting and thrilling. The end is quite hard to understand, but it is well worth reading and thinking upon. Haruki Murakami is a great author and I will definately read more of his books.
posts on 2/2/2005 3:55:57 AM
Does anyone have any thoughts as to the significance of the last paragraph of 'Sputnik Swetheart', where the narrator "stare(s) at the palms of (his) hands, looking for bloodstains"?
It's been puzzling me...or is my sense that, because it ends the book it must be significant, inconsistent with Murakami's not-so-linear style? Surely it's not supposed to be a clue that the narrator has done something violent to someone is it? Do you think it relates to Sumire's line about having to metaphorically cut the throat of a dog and spill blood, as in the blessing of Chinese gates?