First Symptoms of Murakamania

Article by mark

Two of Haruki Murakami’s slimmer novels are also his most accessible. NORWEGIAN WOOD, the novel that turned Murakami into a reluctant star and literary icon in Japan, is a gorgeous and elegiac book. Toru Watanabe, a 37 year-old businessman, hears The Beatles’ classic song “Norwegian Wood” on a plane and is quickly transported back to his college days. The novel touches on friendship, mental illness and the promises we make to friends that are often impossible to keep. A subtle and moving coming of age novel - often sexy, sometimes sad and consistently brilliant - NORWEGIAN WOOD is a compelling and redemptive tale of the universal search for happiness. A book sure to turn any Murakami novice into a fanatic.

Norwegian Wood (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375704024
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 2000

SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN is a deceptively simple story that also negotiates the subject of young love and middle age. Hajime and Shimamoto were childhood sweethearts; they held hands, played records and shared secrets. They eventually drifted apart. Now, decades later, Hajime is a father and husband as well as the successful owner of a jazz club. Suddenly Shimamoto is thrust back into his life and Hajime, filled with passion, feels destined to consummate his first love. Shimamoto is as beautiful as she is mysterious, refusing to talk about her life or anything that has happened since they were children. Hajmi feels unspeakably drawn to Shimamoto and is convinced that leaving his family to be with Shimamoto is his destiny.


South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by) Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780679767398
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 2000

Both of these novels eschew the fantastic elements of Murakami’s larger novels but are no less layered and sophisticated. Each story negotiates such subjects as lust, enchantment and first loves. Both deal with the power of childhood experience and how the events in our younger lives ripple into adulthood. In addition, they refuse to arrive at an easy answer and, much like life itself, remain vague and ambiguous.

For anyone wanting to dip a toe into the world of Haruki Murakami, NORWEGIAN WOOD or SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN are great starting points!

Experience MURAKAMANIA first hand on Monday, August 11. Our Midnight Release party for COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE begins at 10PM.

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