Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami: Book Review

Wind/Pinball: Two Early Novels

Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Pages: 256
Publish date: August 4, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

I honestly didn’t even stop to think. I saw that Murakami was coming out with a new book and was just like, “I need this in my life”. Wind/Pinball is two short novels in one compilation: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. The fact that this one book was split into two stories really made it an accessible and easy summer read, but definitely did not lack in wonderful imagery, description, or philosophy.

Both stories focus on the narrator (who remains nameless, which I love in books), and his roommate. These men drink a lot of beer and have their interesting sexual/romantic encounters. But it wasn’t the alcohol or sex that I found interesting while reading – it was the philosophizing and the very compelling character-building.

The characters were all so very unique, that I could imagine them being real people walking around in Japan, not just merely cartoon caricatures in my head, as when I read most things nowadays. I find it hard to forget about the twins, or the woman with nine fingers. A lot of characters remain nameless in these stories, or have names that are one short word, or a nickname, which I found great because there wasn’t a name to impose an identity on these characters – I could build them myself given only what we are given in the story. That was the most striking feature of the novel, to me.

Overall, these stories are compelling, and wonderfully immersive, as well as extremely thought-provoking. I specifically enjoyed the comparison Murakami was making between life and a game of pinball. I’d be interested to see what everyone else gets from these two short novels!

Wind/Pinball is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.

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