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Wind/Pinball

Cover of Wind/Pinball

Wind/Pinball

Two novels
Borrow Borrow
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973—that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.
These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age—the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat—are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami's later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat.
Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer's beginnings.
From the Hardcover edition.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973—that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.
These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age—the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat—are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami's later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat.
Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer's beginnings.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover The twins woke me up on Thursday morning. Fifteen minutes earlier than usual, but what the heck. I shaved, drank my cof­fee, and pored over the morning paper, so fresh from the press that its ink looked ready to smear my hands.

    "We have a favor to ask," said one of the twins.

    "Think you can borrow a car on Sunday?" said the other.

    "I guess so," I said. "Where do you want to go?"

    "The reservoir."

    "The reservoir?"

    They nodded.

    "What are you planning to do at the reservoir?"

    "Hold a funeral."

    "Who for?"

    "The switch panel, of course."

    "I see," I said. And went back to my paper.

    Unfortunately, a fine rain was falling Sunday morning. Not that I knew what sort of weather befitted a switch panel's funeral. The twins never mentioned the rain, so neither did I.
    I had borrowed my business partner's sky-blue Volkswagen Beetle. "Got a girl now, huh?" he asked. "Mm," I answered. His son had smeared milk chocolate or something all over the back­seat, leaving what looked like bloodstains from a gunfight. Not a single one of his cassette tapes was any good, so we spent the entire hour-and-a-half trip in silence. The rain grew stronger, then weaker, then stronger, then weaker again, at regular inter­vals. A yawn-inducing sort of rain. The only constant was the steady whoosh of oncoming traffic speeding by on the paved road.

    One twin sat in the front passenger seat, the other in the backseat, her arms around a thermos bottle and the shopping bag that held the switch panel. Their faces were grave, appropri­ate for a funeral. I matched my mood to theirs. We maintained that solemnity even when we stopped to eat roasted corn. All that broke the silence was the sound of kernels popping off the cob. We gnawed the cobs bare, tossed them away, and resumed our drive.

    The area turned out to be populated by hordes of dogs, who milled around in the rain like a school of yellowtail in an aquarium. As a result, I spent a lot of time leaning on the horn. The dogs showed no interest whatsoever in either the rain or our car. In fact, they looked downright pissed off by my honk­ing, although they scampered out of the way. It was impos­sible, of course, for them to avoid the rain. They were all soaked right down to their butt holes—some resembled the otter in Balzac's story, others reminded me of meditating Buddhist priests.

    One of the twins inserted a cigarette between my lips and lit it. Then she placed her little hand on the inner thigh of my cot­ton trousers and moved it up and down a few times. It seemed less a caress than an attempt to verify something.

    The rain looked as if it would continue forever. October rains are like that—they just go on and on until every last thing is soaked. The ground was a swamp. It was a chilly, unforgiving world: the trees, the highway, the fields, the cars, the houses, and the dogs, all were drenched.

    We climbed a stretch of mountain road, drove through a thick stand of trees, and there was the reservoir. Because of the rain there wasn't a soul around. Raindrops rippled the water's surface as far as the eye could see. The sight of the reservoir in the rain moved me in a way I hadn't expected. We pulled up next to the water and sat there in the car, drinking coffee from the thermos and munching the cookies the twins had bought. There were three kinds—buttercream, coffee cream, and maple—that we divided up into equal groups to give everyone a fair share.
    All the while the rain continued to fall on the reservoir. It made very little noise. About as much as if you dropped shred­ded...
About the Author-
  • HARUKI MURAKAMI was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and the most recent of his many international honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine An existentially adrift man and his overly critical friend spend much of their free time at a bar, hunting conversationally for meaning. A woman overflowing with mistrust and resentment finds a reason to smile. WIND/PINBALL are Murakami's earliest novels (novellas, actually), and longtime fans might notice this in their pacing or style, but Kirby Heyborne's delivery skillfully smoothes out any rough edges. His performance of The Rat's diatribes, fueled by doubt and cynicism, contrasts believably with the unnamed narrator's search for what once existed. (Over time, he tells us, things become "irreparably different" from what they were.) As portrayed by Heyborne, Murakami's trademark detached, introspective characters, familiar even in these early works, are brought expertly and memorably to life--with bankrupt regard for life's tangles intact. N.J.B. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Wind/Pinball
Wind/Pinball
Two novels
Haruki Murakami
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