Casablanca remade Japanese-style'- a moving, thoughtful story of long-lost love and second chances
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. He is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and the most recent of his many international honours is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V.S. Naipaul.
Lost loves and passionate mistakes haunt the successful but aimless man who tells his life story in this oddly gripping, often dreamlike tale. Growing up in the suburbs of post-WWII Japan, where families of two or three children are the rule, Hajime feels that as an only child he is marked‘perhaps accurately‘as "spoiled, weak and self-centered." His only real friend is smart, pretty Shimamoto, also an only child, who's further set apart from other children by her polio-damaged leg. The two form a deep bond, but life separates them when they are preadolescents, after which Hajime feels that he exists in a void. Some 25 years later, they meet again. Hajime is now a successful nightclub owner, happily married with two children, but he is tempted to throw it all away for Shimamoto, who hints at the unhappy mystery of her life and at dark secrets she will not share with him. Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) writes economically in the voice of Hajime, sketching outlines of events to be filled in by the reader's imagination. The narrative unfolds as an introspective ghost story in which Hajime must exorcise his past in the person of the enigmatic Shimamoto before he can affirm the new direction of his life. The ending, at once tender and hopeful, shows Murakami in a more mellow aspect than his work has exhibited before. (Feb.)
Romance, accusingly bittersweet but still redemptive, is the theme of this novel written by award-winning novelist Murakami, one of Japan's most popular authors. Two only children who were schoolmates and best friends meet again after a 25-year separation. Hajime is now married, the father of two little girls and a successful owner of two jazz clubs. Shimamoto has also changed; she has become a very beautiful woman. She is always immaculately and expensively dressed, but she will not talk about her life or anything that has happened to her. Nevertheless, Hajime believes that he loves her more than life itself; he is convinced that he could leave his family and his business to be with her. After they spend a night together, a night filled with raw passion, she vanishes. Hajime is distraught. After much soul searching, he begins to put his life back together and discovers that he has become a stronger man, one who realizes that looking back is often necessary in order to move forward.‘Janis Williams, Shaker Heights P.L., OH
"A story of love in a cool climate, intensely romantic and weepily beautiful...it is startlingly different: a true original" * Guardian * "Casablanca remade Japanese style...It is dream-like writing, laden with scenes which have the radiance of a poem" * The Times * "This wise and beautiful book is full of hidden truths" * New York Times * "This book aches...an eloquent treatise on the vertiginous, irrational powers of love and desire" * Independent on Sunday * "Impressively written and structured... Above all, the novel is memorable for its unflinchingly extreme treatment of romantic love" * Times Literary Supplement *