Hear The Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Do you wish you could spend your life drinking coffee, hanging out at your local bar, smoking cigarettes and occasionally doing some writing?

If your answer is yes I have the perfect book to accompany and inspire you!

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 are two short novels recently released in the one volume. They are the earliest novels by contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Their release marks the first time these two stories have been published in English outside of Japan, and they make up parts one and two of a trilogy.

Hear the Wind Sing is written in first person viewpoint from our unknown narrator who is home from University for the summer break. During this time he smokes cigarettes, hangs out with his friend the Rat at J’s bar, listens to music, and contemplates the three serious relationships he has had so far. Then he has another cigarette. That’s it. That’s all that happens in this book. And it’s greatly enjoyable.

Pinball is set three years later, from the viewpoint of the same narrator. He is now working in Tokyo, translating papers. He is currently living with a set of identical twins. He sets out to find his old favourite pinball machine. He smokes a lot of cigarettes. It also follows the story of the Rat, who has remained behind in the old home town and is struggling to move on from J’s bar. He is also smoking many cigarettes.

If you are a person who loves a strongly driven plot with peaks and troughs and build and twists and turns then forget about it, walk straight past this book and don’t look back!

If you are strongly against cigarettes and hate the thought of people smoking then you may want to put this book in a fireplace and watch it burn.

But if you are a person who can sit by a window and do nothing else but watch the rain come down for an hour, or if you like to wander about your local neighbourhood just to soak in the atmosphere, or if you love to sit by train windows and watch the world go by you will love this book.

This book is the equivalent of a lazy Sunday with your friends, drinking beers, or a long leisurely stroll. The narrator is interesting, you may or may not find him likeable but I doubt the author would care. It details the daily goings of his life and what he is contemplating at the time. It is one of the most relaxing, most enjoyable reads I’ve ever had. After the book was over I struggled to remember what had happened, or what any of it was about. This may seem bizarre but the book has a way of making you live the moment with the narrator. What comes before or after doesn’t matter.

This book is for adults, because it talks about adult things. There’s no swearing or adult scenes, no violence or explicit content. It just talks about subjects only adults would understand, like the feeling of staying in a town too long when your friends have left; when you break up with someone without having a conversation about it; or when you decide to go hunt down a pinball machine you loved three years before, just to see it again.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for a relaxing read. It would be perfect to enjoy with a coffee at a cafe.The third book in the trilogy is titled A Wild Sheep Chase. I will certainly be looking into that next.

 

Thank you for joining us today at the Boss Book Club!

 

Happy Reading!

 

By the way, I’m not kidding about the smoking. The narrator lights a smoke on every single page. Every one…

 

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Hear The Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973

  1. That would drive me insane to have two books in one that are part of a trilogy. I’m a little obsessive like that, though. I wonder if the smoking thing would drive me insane. I think the way 95% of writers describe smoking is just awful and makes me want to punch a book.

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    • That’s a good point actually, I wonder why they didn’t put all three in the same book? I noticed that the third part has been out on the shelves for a while, whilst parts one and two have only just been released in English, which is strange. And on the smoking front, panic not, there are no lengthy descriptions of the experience here, it’s just an add on to whatever else he’s doing… Whatever is happening, a smoke is accompanying it!

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  2. I have recently come to appreciate the character-driven story. In fact, my own ms is such a novel. I’ve been rewriting it for fifteen years, probably trying to find its plot when it simply chronologues life. These two actually sound quite intriguing.

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  3. I’ve always seen Murakami’s quotes here and there, and found them very meaningful. Maybe it’s time I picked up one of his books! Though I’m a non-smoker and am not a fan of cigarette smoke, both books sound very compelling to me. It is interesting to hear you say you struggled to remember what happened in the book…sometimes when I read books, that’s me too. I’d have a good time reading the book but later, don’t recall much of it. That’s not to say the author isn’t a bad writer or can’t leave an impression with his or her words. Some stories are meant to be felt in the moment, in a moment in time 🙂

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  4. A good review of what sounds like a good, character-driven trilogy.. Unfortunately, the smoking.is not my scene, so perhaps I would just want to watch the books burn. I don’t like to see smoking glamorised in any way at all. Thank you for the warning about that.

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