Hear the Wind Sing (Trilogy of the Rat 1) – Haruki Murakami

Hear the Wind Sing is the first novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Gunzo, and in book form the next month. The novel was adapted by Japanese director Kazuki Ōmori in a 1981 film distributed by Art Theatre Guild. An English translation by Alfred Birnbaum appeared in 1987.

It is the first book in the so-called “Trilogy of the Rat” series of independent novels, followed by Pinball, 1973 (1980) and A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), before the later epilogue Dance Dance Dance (1988).

I read more than half before finally wondering why was I putting myself through this. It wasn’t a test. I don’t have to measure up to any standard. This is just for enjoyment and I wasn’t enjoying it.

As much as I try to be honest, the words I’m looking for always seem to sink into dark depths. I’m not trying to make excuses. At least what I’m writing here is the best I can do. There’s nothing else to say. Still, here’s what I’m thinking: way before you’re good at it, maybe years or decades before you’re good at it, you can save yourself, I think. And when you do, the elephant back on the plains will be able to tell his story with words more beautiful than own.

The book is beautifully written but it just doesn’t stay with you. It’s like a waterfall. You can look at it but you can’t capture it.

The little book is a trivial story of a Japanese student returning to his hometown for a few weeks in the summer of 1970. Bars, drugs, lots of beer, occasional sex, pseudo-intellectual dialogues with cranky locals. So the plot dives and at the end of the semester it dies. I wouldn’t use this book to judge the author. I’ve read some beautiful works of art from Murakami and one of my favourites is from him (Kafka on the Shore)

“People with dark souls have nothing but dark dreams. People with really dark souls do nothing but dream,” went a favorite saying of my late grandmother.

This story doesn’t have any of the fantastic elements of his later novels, which is something I appreciate, but it seems to be a collage of ideas and observations rather than a coherent novel.

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