Share via Email Colourful reminiscences in Pinball, Messy, middling and monotonous? Murakami has reached that stage — plus years into a stellar career — where he is unassailable, where the early work and the juvenilia are read in the vast bright burning light of the later work, which lends it all a lovely lambent glow. Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, — commercially available here in English translation, by Ted Goosen, for the first time — could be absolute drivel and still people would find interesting things to say about them, how they prefigure certain themes, how they indicate the early development of a distinctive style and how they therefore justify themselves as the beginning rather than an end, a false start, or a complete waste of time by a total no-hoper.
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He describes living with a pair of identical unnamed female twins, who mysteriously appear in his apartment one morning, and disappear at the end of the book. Interspersed with the narrative are his memories of the Japanese student movement, and of his old girlfriend Naoko, who hanged herself. The plot alternates between describing the life of narrator and that of his friend, The Rat.
Rain and the sea are also prominent motifs. A translator with twin live-in girlfriends I know, just humour the authors sad wish fulfilment fantasy develops an obsession with pinball, specifically a pinball machine called Spaceship. One day his machine disappears. He half-heartedly goes looking for it. Its even more Haruki Murakami tends to write two kinds of novel: ones with a story and ones without; Pinball, is unfortunately the latter.
He half-heartedly goes looking for it…. His female characters though remain as one-dimensional as ever. The narrator talks about meeting people from Saturn and Venus at the start, the pinball machine is called Spaceship, so…? Is the pinball machine meant to symbolise something, like a lost love — is that what that hallucinatory sequence at the end was about?
Pinball, 1973 Quotes
It describes itself in the text as "a novel about pinball," but also explores themes of loneliness and companionship, purposelessness, and destiny. As with the other books in the "Trilogy of the Rat" series, three of the characters include the protagonist, a nameless first-person narrator, his friend The Rat, and J, the owner of the bar where they often spend time. He describes living with a pair of identical unnamed female twins, who mysteriously appear in his apartment one morning, and disappear at the end of the book. Interspersed with the narrative are his memories of the Japanese student movement, and of his old girlfriend Naoko, who hanged herself. The plot alternates between describing the life of the narrator and that of his friend, Rat. Rain and the sea are also prominent motifs.
Despite plots that offer little more than a catalogue of bizarre events and random musings, there are enough flashes of brilliance to keep the reader interested. For newcomers, these early works are an excellent introduction to a writer who has since become one of the most influential novelists of his generation. Japan and its past is more prominent here" - Arifa Akbar, The Independent "With its more assured voice, its greater mastery of tone and the confidence of a sharper and more mature whimsy, Pinball, demonstrates the extent to which the author was already progressing in leaps. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Pinball, follows closely on Hear the Wind Sing, complete with the reappearance of several characters -- notably the Rat and barkeep J -- and even begins with the nameless narrator reflecting on life about a decade earlier, exactly the time of the central story of the earlier novel. His recollection of a desperate effort to connect and comprehend others back then -- "I went around asking everyone to tell me about where they were born and raised" -- is an amusing idea, and contrasts nicely with his more adult present.
Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami review – super-elliptical pop-noir