South of the Border, West of the Sun

If you are the sort of reader who needs answers, Murakami is not your man. Like his other books, South of the Border, West of the Sun leaves the reader with so many questions…

Hajime (interestingly, the main character’s name is always seldom used in Murakami’s novels) met Shimamoto when he was twelve. They grew up and grew apart – but he never forgot her. His subsequent relationships always lacked something. Then she walks back into his life many years later, a mysterious figure who comes and goes on her own timetable. And just when Hajime is prepared to throw his whole life away for her, she disappears for good.

We never know why Shimamoto does any of these things – although unlike many of Murakami’s other novels (and the ones I prefer) there does not seem to be a supernatural explanation. And so, we are just left to deal with that feeling you get, when you can never know the truth.

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