Haruki Murakami’s publishing firm is no doubt trying to capitalise on the Japanese author’s incredible success in the English speaking world. Here, they have taken two of his unpublished novellas from the very beginning of his writing career, and bundled them together in a special edition for fans. And while I am not complaining – Murakami is a genius – this really is probably for fans only.
Of the two stories, Wind (or Hear the Wind Sing) is the superior. It focuses on themes of isolation and alienation, exploring the relationship between our unnamed narrator and a women with four fingers on one hand who he continues to run into. His typical beauty and strangeness runs through the gentle narrative.
Pinball is far more unusual, where another – or possibly the same – unnamed narrator discusses his relationship with a pair of twins who turn up and move in with him one day, and his fascination with a particular pinball machine.
Through both narratives intersperses events from the life of The Rat, a staple in a few Murakami novels.
Definitely not his best work, although Wind is vintage Murakami and a beautiful read.