South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami (review by Andrew R. ’17)

South of the Border, West of the SunSouth of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

South of the Border, West of the Sun is infuriating—not in the manner of books that disappoint and disgust from beginning to end, but in the way of plots that, after a few failed early chapters, reward readers with tantalizing tastes of undeniable brilliance. If only Haruki Murakami had seen fit to split the first half of the book, which chronicles the narrator’s over dramatic childhood in a wearyingly trite style, from the second half… Then I could assign a one-star rating to the first segment and forget about it, focusing instead on the simple, understated beauty that underlines the later chapters as they trace the protagonist Hajime’s relationships, past and present, with other characters. But, alas, the tale of Hajime’s later life is tainted by the cringe-worthy opening chapters; there’s no way to get the best parts of the novel without the worst. If there were, though, I would recommend the second half of South of the Border, West of the Sun to anyone and everyone who’s ever laid hands on a book. – Andrew R. ’17

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