South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami is the story of one man’s life. Hajime grows up as an only child, befriends another only child named Shimamoto, and then looses touch with her during their teenage years. He grows older, gets married, becomes a successful jazz club owner, and then starts a family. However one day he meets Shimamoto again and realizes that life can never go back to the way it once was.
This book had a few beautiful moments but nothing that really grabbed me. The story is more along the lines of Norwegian Wood’s realism than something resembling, say, Kafka on the Shore. However, Norwegian Wood reached an emotional level that I feel this book just missed. That, and the protagonist was just too similar to Murakami himself. I’d like to read one of his books where the narrator isn’t a whiskey-drinking, book-reading, cat-loving, jazz and classical music connoisseur with an obsession for mysterious women with no past, ears, and very unsexy sex. Not that I don’t love his books. But really. Just sayin’.