REVIEW: South of the Border, West of the Sun

As previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to encounter for the first time the work of Haruki Murakami.  A friend a while back already suggested that I start reading his work, but for some reason I never really got around it.  It wasn’t until I saw this book’s cover did I muster enough energy to purchase the book and immerse myself in it.

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Talk about judging a book by its cover eh?  Hahaha.

If you haven’t read this book and are planning to, stop reading this now.  Here’s the story.  The book is Hajime’s story, from his childhood till he got married and had kids, and about the loves of his life.  Yes, you read that right:  loves.  As in more than one.  I am not entirely sure if this was the intention of the author, but right when you hit the fifth chapter, you’d know that this is a coming of age story.  But in a more mature manner.

Anyway, it talked about his three loves:  Shimamoto, Izumi and Yukiko.  Each woman he loved for very different reasons, but Shimamoto… he loved the best.  Now married to Yumiko, his childhood sweetheart Shimamoto appears out of nowhere, revealing nothing about herself, but that she remains the love she always was to him.

This meeting sends him into a spiral of events that are emotional to say the least.  In this book, you will read a man finding himself, losing himself, and regaining himself all over again, only to be at the brink of ruining another woman’s life.

But of course he didn’t know what he did till he saw Izumi in that cab.

I can’t even tell this story properly.  I just know that after I turned the last page, the first review I read was, Murakami is a genius.  And I couldn’t have agreed more.

What really brought me to the surface was this bit:

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Is it because I can very much relate to this bit at this moment?  Have I really encountered a force so great that it had determined my way of life?  Have I impacted someone as great as this?

My life decisions since the beginning of the year doesn’t really spell out sound emotional stability but am I ready to grasp the fact of the matter?  That a person has the potential to ruin another?

I read this story again today and I felt for Hajime.  To have something that is so precious way beyond my reach because of impossibilities and improbabilities that my simple mind cannot wrap itself around.  And it scares me that my actions may have rippled to great lengths, cannot be undone.

This book brought me to tears, especially when Yukiko said this:

I think you still love me, but we can’t escape the fact that I’m not enough for you. I knew this was going to happen. So I’m not blaming you for falling in love with another woman. I’m not angry, either. I should be, but I’m not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt, but I was wrong.

Could I be wrong too?

4.2 out of 5 stars

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