Hear the wind sing by Haruki Murakami

Source – library

Translator – Alfred Birnbaum


Haruki Murakami’s debut novel like pinball 1973 which i read earlier ,it is quite hard to get hold of ,only being published in Japan in english translation ,this is also the first of the rat trilogy ,which includes pinball 1973 and wild sheep chase .

well this book focus on the meeting of the narrator and the rat ,the narrator is a young man who is stuck in limbo between adulthood and teen years meet the “rat” the nickname of  Nezumi in j’s bar ,he is slightly older than the narrator and is a drop out  ,the bar is focus of most of the book it is run by j a chinese man and is what might be called a spit and sawdust pub in the uk ,a place’s full of the dregs and drifters of life .So these to start a friendship that carries on through the other books in the series .there is also a thread about a fictional american writer called Derek Heartfield ,this is writer seems a mix of some sixties writers a sci-fi writer another thread is the narrators relationship with a women this from in a triangle of relationships like in some of his later books .the book covers a period of about three weeks .

I first meet the rat three years before in the spring .We’d both entered university that year , and the two of us had gotten pretty bombed .So I have absolutely no recollection what could have possibly thrown us together for that ride after four in the morning , in the rats shiny black Fiat 600 .I guess we had a friend in common .

The narrator remembering first meeting with the Rat .

Well what to say about this book I so wanted to read the first two books of Murakami not sure why ,to complete his books maybe ,or to see why they are not available in english .I m still not sure why there both available more widely in English .Well I m still not sure ,ok there not top-notch Murakami ,but on the other hand there not as bad as Murakami thinks they are ,this is a little more over the place than pinball 1973 was ,the fact names are missing and you tend to jump from situation to situation can be a bit jarring at time ,the fact you know how these two meet and a bit more info about the rat is handy as he crops up in the other two in the series and also in dance .dance ,dance .If you want to see how Murakami started on his path as a writer I would read this, if like me you want to complete his works read it .Like a number of earlier books Birnbaum is the translator he is a good translator ,whether his later translator Jay Rubin would be able to work his magic on this I don’t know if it is needed .the book is only a 120 pages and in full size print would maybe be 80 pages so an evening s read .I will be reading wild sheep chase next to complete the trilogy of the rat .

Have you read this book ?

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sakura
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 10:19:22

    I’m going to be reading this and Pinball 1973 soon. I’ve actually read most of the others that have been translated into English except some of his short stories. Can’t wait for 1Q84 later this year!


  2. parrish
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 13:28:43

    This &1q84 are the only ones I’ve not read, so will at some point read this just have to get hold of.


  3. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 17:19:05

    I have him on my ‘authors to look for’ list.


  4. JoV
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 20:40:39

    Great review stu. Haven’t read this but since I want to read everything that is written by him, I will read this at some point soon.


  5. Mel ui
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 01:18:11

    I have read Pinball 1973 but not this one yet-I would like to read it just for the sense of one day having read all of his novels-I still have this, 1q84 and Hard Boiled Wonderland to go-I enjoyed your post a lot


  6. Rise
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 02:26:07

    If you want to see how Murakami started on his path as a writer I would read this, if like me you want to complete his works read it

    Done. Have read it. Not earth-shaking but passable. They’re not really that bad.


  7. Geosi
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 13:51:29

    The more I hear about Murakami, the more I want to read him. Thanks for reminding me that I ought to pick his books one of these days.


  8. Andrew Blackman
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 17:00:56

    I haven’t read this, but it sounds great – will try to track it down. Thanks for the review!


  9. gina
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 17:19:57

    Interesting, that Murakami doesn’t think much of the Rat Trilogy. I’ve yet to read Murakami other than the few odd stories.


  10. Richard
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 01:59:11

    I loved The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Stu, but it apparently took so much out of me that I’m not sure I’m ready to read another Murakami this year even though IQ84 is obviously tempting. Still interesting to hear about this early work of his, though.


  11. Mike
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 12:15:27

    If you’re a fan of Murakami’s Rat novels, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that in fact it is not a trilogy, but a tetralogy. Besides Hear The Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973 and The Wild Sheep Chase, Dance, Dance, Dance is the last chapter in the series of the Rat. And a very commendable last chapter, I must say. Dance, Dance, Dance turned out to be one of my personal favorites. The process of dealing with loss and mourning never has been sketched out so vividly and marvelous. If you’re captivated by the story of the Rat thus far, I’d certainly recommend you to pick up Dance, Dance, Dance!


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July 2011


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