Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
Hear the Wind Sing follows the fortunes of the narrator and his friend, known only by his nickname, the Rat. The narrator is home from college on his summer break. He spends his time drinking beer and smoking in J’s Bar with the Rat.
God, I have so many mixed thoughts on this book. I’m having such a hard time collecting them, so I’m going to bullet them and see how I feel after. Sorry this review is so disjointed, I just had a lot of thoughts.
>> It was incredibly well-written. Murakami is definitely one of the best authors and has such a way with words that’s so simple and concise but beautiful at the same time.
>> It also kind of makes me nostalgic for something I haven’t experienced. You ever read those books and have those moments? This book managed to do that. It reads very much like nostalgia feels, if that makes any sense, and it’s beautiful.
>> There is a plot, but it’s very thin. If the plot was paper, it would be tissue paper. BUT I don’t think the point of this novella is the plot; it’s definitely meant to be more character-driven.
>> The characters are definitely interesting and have depth and need development. The thing is, I’m not sure what the character development is supposed to be. There are really only three characters: the unnamed narrator, his friend Rat, and the nine-fingered woman. They all have character development, but it’s very much off-screen (off page?) and we don’t really see it.
>> Like, at one point, something happens between the Rat and a woman, and the narrator is like “hey man, that was probably a shitty time for you, do you want to talk about it?” and the Rat literally goes “yeah, I was going to tell you, but I’ve decided not to” and we never find out what it was. How can we, as readers, judge the character development of a character if we don’t even know what they’re going through?
>> I think this was another case of too much showing and not enough telling. There were a couple times when the narrator would mention something, and I’m sure it was important but I have no idea why. Like the part where he talks about lying to his ex-girlfriend. She calls him a liar and he says (not to her, but to the reader) that he only lied once during her questioning, and I’m sure we were supposed to know which was the lie but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it was??? And there were a couple other times where he’d talk about other things that I’m sure were relevant, but to me they seemed random. Some more explanation would have been nice.
So overall I think my thoughts were basically this: this book was really well-written and had great characters; however, either I’m too dumb to understand things or things weren’t explained like at all. I’m leaning to the first one, but who knows.
Also, fun side story: this was Murakami’s debut, and it almost didn’t happen. He wrote it and submitted his only copy to a competition, and ended up winning the competition, which got the book published. But had he not won, Murakami may have never become Murakami. Crazy.
Also, another side note: I was talking to one of my best friends about Murakami and determined that he only ever writes about two things, sex and suicide. And that very much holds true for this book too. Just a heads up.
So those are my very disjointed thoughts on this book! Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? Did this review make any sense? Let me know!
Thanks for reading! xx