E-PUB É 国境の南、太陽の西 [Kokkyō no minami, taiyō no nishi] Â eBook or Kindle ePUB free

E-PUB µ 国境の南、太陽の西 [Kokkyō no minami, taiyō no nishi] ó يعد هاروكي موراكامي أشهر الروائيين اليابانيين المعاصرين، وتتصدر رواياته قوائم الروايات الأكثر منيعا، وتترجمها وتنشرها كبريات دور النشر في العالميكتب هاروكي موراكامي بلغة حديثة وبسيطة، فيكشف حياة اليابان المعاصرة, ويقدم روايات تدخل إلى مسام القارئ كالسم البطيء, إذ تبدو عادية جداً للوهلة الأولى, ثم سرعان ما تصبح علاقة القارئ بالرواية قوية, فلا يستطيع تركها إنها حكايات تدور حولنا, تنتمي إلى العالم الذي نعيشه اليوم, فهي قريبة منا, كما لو أننا نعيش مع أبطالها, وتمتلك جاذبية الرواية والقص الممتع تدخل في عالمها فلا تستطيع أن تتركها جانباً تنتهي من قراءتها وتبقى حكاياتهاعالقة في الذهن This novel starts out as a comingofage story of a young Japanese man Like other Murakami novels we have cats, Western culture and music – both American pop and European classical music To the cats we can add lame women because there are two in this story Another major theme of this book is that the main character and several others are an “only child” and the characters discuss what this means This makes a lot of sense in Japanese culture with its exceptionally low birth rate to the point where Japanese population is actually declining (See below by a million people in the last five years.) There really isn’t much plot The young man is bored by his job as an editor but after he marries his wife’s wealthy father sets him up as a nightclub owner The young man finds his calling designing and opening night clubs in Tokyo And buying BMWs As time goes on he becomes overly focused on thinking back to his early innocent relations with girls and trying to figure out what went wrong and what his life would have been like if he had stuck with another girl He follows women around who remind him of this or that old girlfriend Everyone thinks of these “alternate life scenarios” in passing but this man is obsessed by it Even after he has a wife and child, a woman appears who reminds him of one of these earlier romances and he becomes obsessed with her As with some other Murakami novels I found the resolution of the story to be unsatisfactory Introducing some amount of fantasy or mystery is great but you can’t just leave us hanging at the end with absolutely no explanation of what was going on – why did the woman keep disappearing and where did she go? I felt that way about Murakami's IQ84.as well In both novels the science fiction/fantasy part of the novel seemed tossed in just for the heck of it and didn’t seem to be necessary to the plot Still, I thought it was a good read and worth a 4. Whatever Murakami book I am reading, I find myself stepping back into the same world as before, with all of the same characters and themes of wells and transience and strangely poignant details like gold lighters and classical music records and the myriad spaghetti dinnersthe mundane details of everyday life spun into a dreamy tapestry The fact that every Murakami book I read seems to feel the same is a good thing in this author's case His tone is something quite distinct Every time I read him I feel I'm wrapping myself in a wispy cocoon of emotions and floating once again in that wistful introspection, melancholy, disassociation Nothing is permanent Murakami captures Mono no aware amid the frenetic modern day Tokyo His world is surreal and yet also emotionally fillinga perfectly imperceptible blend of fantasy and the real The voice of the narrator is always the same, delving with an endearing, compelling introspection into the deep well of his psyche, and always doing so amid a rising urgency; in a race against time and the dissolution of the form of things; in a race against some phantom clock whose measure only the most sensitive can grasp and whose ticking threatens that all might be swept away with the next gust of wind The sense of time in these novels is always strangely skewedwe are following a character for some time in a day to day mode, wherein a particular depth of thought suddenly holds us in midair, and suddenly we are jumping fifteen years, only to find the characters still dwelling in the past as though it were yesterday Murakami achieves illusory momentums that give way to long bouts of ruminating stillness Finishing the novel is like waking from a dream where you've justyes you've just learned something. A Companion IntervenesI reread “South of the Border” immediately after rereading “Norwegian Wood”, as part of my training regime for Murakami’s “1Q84”.Although they were written five years apart and were separated by “Dance Dance Dance”, they are good companion pieces.They stand out from Murakami’s other novels because they explore love and its consequences almost exclusively.Although some things and events go unexplained, there is little of the surrealism and absurdity that characterizes most of his other works.Strangely, whereas “Norwegian Wood” concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about relationships in his late teens, “South of the Border” concerns the recollections of a 37 year old protagonist about a relationship that originally started and finished before he turned 13, so he was not yet a teenager.While the protagonist in “Norwegian Wood” seemed to get his girl (or one of them) at the end, there was some doubt in my mind whether the relationship had lasted until the time of narration.In “South of the Border”, the intervening period has brought the protagonist, Hajime, a permanent relationship, marriage, parenthood and business and financial success However, his apparent contentment and happiness is jeopardized by the intervention of Shimamoto, his girlfriend from the age of 12.The Bond of OnlynessThe first quarter of the novel is a relatively straightforward narration of Hajime’s first 30 years.He is born in January, 1951 (which makes him almost exactly two years younger than Murakami himself).He is an only child, as is Shimamoto He detests the term “only child”, because it implies he is “missing” something, as if he is an incomplete human being, yet somehow spoiled, weak and selfcentred as well.Hajime is not just interested in Shimamoto because neither of them has any siblings, he’s fascinated by the fact that her left leg is slightly lame, yet she never whines or complains.Nobody else at school finds her as striking or charming as him, even though he recognizes that she has not yet developed an outer “gorgeousness” to match her inner qualities.So while they develop a deep relationship, she wraps herself in a protective shell that separates her from other students.Unfortunately, the relationship comes to an end the year after when they go to different junior high schools.Relatively UnfaithfulHajime gets on with life, even getting another girlfriend, Izumi, who he thinks is cute, even if she isn’t conventionally pretty.She is the oldest of three children, though still sensitive enough at 16 to be able to say, “I’m scared These days I feel like a snail without a shell.”Yet as much as she tries her best to give Hajime all she can, she is destined to make him realize his capacity for hurt:”I didn’t understand thenthat I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.”Just after Hajime’s 18th birthday, he is preparing to start four years of college in Tokyo, which effectively spells the end of the relationship.However, it ends on even worse terms, when Izumi discovers that he has been having a passionate affair with her cousin, while she has been deferring a sexual relationship with him.At 37, he learns that his betrayal permanently damaged her, so much so that she lives a life of isolation in an apartment block where all of the children are afraid of her.He has ruined her life.So ultimately the novel is concerned with the hurt we cause in the pursuit of our own needs and illusions.A Lame Excuse for StalkingDespite his capacity for hurt, Hajime has a sympathy for outsiders, nonconformists who don’t quite fit in.It reveals itself in his attraction to women who are lame, of whom there are several in the novel.Just before he meets his future wife, Yukiko, when he is 28, he sees an elegant woman limping in the street.He follows her for some time, wondering whether it is Shimamoto, until she enters a café, from where she phones someone for support.The man who comes to her aid demands that he leave her alone and gives him an envelope with a large amount of money in it.Meanwhile, the woman makes her escape in a cab, ramping up the mystery about her identity.He can’t believe his luck Why did this happen? Did it really happen at all? What does it all mean?If not for the envelope, proof that something must have happened, it would have continued to be a riddle, “a delusion from start to finish, a fantasy I’d cooked up in my head, a very long, realistic dream that somehow I’d mixed up with reality”.For Hajime, as long as he has the envelope, it means that this whole event actually occurred, that his quest was real and not an illusion.Everything Falls Into PlaceAt 30, Hajime marries Yukiko, after which they have two daughters and he establishes two jazz bars (one of which is called the “Robin’s Nest” and the other we know only as “my other bar”) at the prompting of his fatherinlaw.Up to this point, Hajime has been relatively faithful, apart from a few flings when Yukiko was pregnant, relationships that he seems to excuse in the same manner that his fatherinlaw justifies his own affairs (they allow him to let off steam and actually reinforce the primacy of marriage).So much, so normal.He seems to have developed a knack for stopping just short of being selfdestructive.Until one day his success results in some magazine coverage that reunites him with old school friends who trigger a sense of nostalgia for his past relationships.And with this nostalgia comes Shimamoto.Hollow InsideEnough of the plot, I want to explore some of the metaphors.To all intents and purposes, Hajime has been happy in his marriage:”I could not imagine a happier life.”However, the emergence of Shimamoto makes him realize that he has been harbouring feelings about his past with her:”Everything disappears some day Like this barThings that have form will all disappear But certain feelings stay with us forever.”To which Shimamoto responds:”But you know, Hajime, some feelings cause us pain because they remain.”To this extent, she has a better insight into Hajime than he does himself.Holding onto the past can create a darkness inside us that is destined to hurt not just ourselves, but those around us.By the end of the chapter, he is looking into the mirror, confronting the fact that he has become a liar, that there is something dark inside him:”For the first time in a long while, I looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror Those eyes told me nothing about who I was.”It’s an existential crisis of sorts, he is on the boundary of sanity and madness:”If I never see her again, I will go insane Once she got out of the car and was gone, my world was suddenly hollow and meaningless.”To the extent that Shimamoto is a twin of himself who completes the one person, she has gone missing and he is once again incomplete.Missing Persons, Minding the GapSo what to do about his hollowness and yearning?Hajime falls in love with the idea that he and Shimamoto were “starcrossed lovers” who were simply born under a bad sign, whose love originally perished under an unlucky star, but can be revived:”You could say I’m happy Yet I’ve known ever since I met you again that something is missing The important question is what is missing Something’s lacking In me and my life And that part of me is always hungry, always thirsting Neither my wife nor my children can fill that gap In the whole world, there’s only one person who can do that You.”He wants to overcome his hollowness by filling in the 25 year gap since they last saw each other:”‘It’s strange,’ she said, ‘You want to fill in that blank space of time, but I want to keep it all blank.’”As Hajime swings between sanity and insanity, Shimamoto disappears and reappears.Indeed, the reverse is also true: as Shimamoto disappears and reappears, Hajime swings between sanity and insanity.She is both the focus of his sanity and the cause of his insanity.She keeps his hopes alive with the promise that they will “probably” see each other in “a while”.Gradually, he realizes he has to do something about it, he has to account to his wife, Yukiko.Only it doesn’t come easily: ”I was struck by a violent desire to confess everything What a relief that would be! Nohiding, noneed to playact or to lieBut I didn’t say anything Confession would serve no purpose It would only make us miserable.”So the fear of misery justifies the continued deceit.South of the Border, West of the SunThe title of the novel is a lyric from a song played by Nat King Cole.Both Hajime and Shimamoto had romanticized what might lie “south of the border”.She thinks it is “something beautiful, big and soft”, only to discover when she grows up that all it refers to is Mexico.So they realize that all of their romanticism is misplaced, it’s a fabrication.Similarly, “west of the sun” describes a medical condition called “hysteria syberiana”, which affects farmers in Siberia.After months of exposure to the harsh winter, they sometimes head off in search of some land west of the sun: “Like someone possessed, you walk on, day after day, not eating or drinking, until you collapse on the ground and die.” They succumb to their illusions and eventually die, because they fail to take care of reality.So eventually Hajime realizes that Shimamoto is a distraction, perhaps even an illusion, that he must turn away from:”I would never see her again, except in memory She was here and now she’s gone There is no middle ground ‘Probably’ is a word you may find south of the border But never, ever, west of the sun.” At the same time, he realizes that the envelope has gone:”I should have thrown that money away when I first got it Keeping it was a mistake.”To quote Shimamoto, “some feelings cause us pain because they remain.”The envelope had to go, just as his feelings for her had to go.Though there is a lingering doubt as to whether the envelope was ever real.So ultimately we are forced to question whether the return of Shimamoto actually occurred or whether it was a fabrication of a mind that had gone lame.Did Hajime’s selfdelusion, his existential crisis, develop into a full on nervous breakdown, his own version of hysteria syberiana?Did he just make it all up?Was it just a very long, realistic dream that somehow I’d mixed up with reality”?Rain in the Desert, Rain on the Sea Murakami also uses the metaphor of a desert which appears to be lifeless until it rains, when the dormant life revives and blossoms.Hajime’s obsession with a relationship from the past transforms his marriage into a desert.The darkness of his selfdelusion sucks all of the life out of the reality of his relationship and his parenthood.Yet Hajime can’t sort it out from within his delusion.So, in a way, Yukiko wins back their marriage with almost superhuman patience and insight and persistence.She has to rain on the desert of their relationship.Yet her effort isn’t so much superhuman as quintessentially human.She reveals that she too has had needs and gaps that she wanted to fill, that Hajime has ignored her needs and vulnerability, that he has been selfish to think he is the only one to have suffered from a hollowness.Throughout the novel, the presence of Shimamoto is associated with rain or water, like some noir pulp fiction.However, just as rain forces us inside to keep dry, it is also a source of water that revives life.“South of the Border” finishes with Hajime contemplating a sea with rain falling on it.Murakami is typically ambiguous.There might be a sense in which rain on the ocean cannot revive dormant life, that the sea remains lifeless or unaffected beneath the surface, that it simply can’t see that it is being replenished.However, the ocean might also be a sea of possibilities, it is full of life and Hajime simply has to make a choice so that the rain can make a difference.While Hajime contemplates all this, Yukiko comes and rests a hand lightly on his shoulder.We get the sense that the two of them have together made a choice, that the “new life beginning tomorrow” that they have promised each other might just happen.So whether or not the reappearance of Shimamoto was real or an illusion, she was the trigger for Hajime to realize that his marriage was the real thing and that he didn’t need to seek something else “South of the Border, West of the Sun”.It’s a lesson both to be with the one you love, and to love the one you’re with, because they are usually, and should be, the same person. The other night a friend mentioned she is reading '1Q84' at the moment and it got me all nostalgic for a Murakami experience So choosing one at random of the ever diminishing list of Murakami's I haven't read yet I chose 'South of the Border, West of the Sun'.What do you get? Unsurprisingly a story that is Murakami There is an everyman protagonist, mysterious lady from the past, jazz, university protests, people with deformities I could go on or just use the Murakami Bingo: Desipite being so Murakami that it could have been achieved via a cut/paste exercise from his other novels I still enjoyed it I just love Murakami Plotwise it most reminds me of 'Norwegian Wood', especially that it has no weird story elements It's just a straight our universe no funny business at all Murakami Indeed reading it I thought of it as a protoNorwegian Wood, like a practice piece But looking at his Wikipedia page I see that he wrote it two novels after 'Norwegian Wood' Oh well So overall this was a likeable read, but probably only recommended for fans who have read the major works The others offer so much .