Monday, June 18, 2007

Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is such a strange man. Pinball, 1973 was published in 1985, about 20 years before Kafka on the Shore, and you can really get a sense of him fleshing out his writing style. After I read it I learned that it’s the second of “the Rat trilogy,” his first three books plus a fourth added some years later (I am aware, as I’m sure he is too, that four books are too many for a trilogy). Unfortunately, the first two books are out of print in English (apparently he refuses to allow them to be published outside of Japan, which is a real shame), but you can download a PDF file of Pinball, 1973 in English here. The only copy of his first book is $2,400 on Amazon.com, if anyone’s looking to buy me presents.

Pinball, 1973 works pretty well as a stand-alone work, in my opinion. It’s just as confusing as Kafka on the Shore, but with fewer elements. In a nutshell: the main character, unnamed, works as an independent translator and lives alone until he wakes up one day to find twin girls asleep on either side of him. One day, almost as an epiphany, he develops an obsession with one certain pinball machine, an old favorite of an acquaintance of his, the Rat. The Rat’s separate storyline is told in alternating chapters throughout; he moves to his own apartment for university, drops out after three years, and befriends a bartender named J until he decides it’s time to move on. I assume that the next book deals with what happens next, but, knowing Murakami, there’s really no way to tell without reading it. It could just as easily be about ice cream cones.

For me, it was a lonely season. Whenever I got home and took off my clothes, I felt as if any second my bones would burst through my skin. Like some unknown force inside me had taken a wrong turn somewhere, and was leading me off in some strange direction to another world.

More than anything, this book deals with being alone, from all angles. One character seems to distance himself from those around him in order to protect them from some karmic part of himself that he can’t control, in some weird way. The other just can’t seem to open himself up enough, or even know himself well enough, to connect with the people who care about him. The writing is pretty simple, or else it comes off that way after translation, but I’ve come to know it as his style. A lot of the passages are very moving, and most of the book is strangely comforting and familiar, in a way. You really want to be where his characters find themselves. I still can’t say that I completely understand Murakami, but I definitely like his work. Here’s hoping he breaks down and publishes this and his first book in the US soon.

EDIT: Very bad news, sports fans. It looks like someone forced the website to remove the file with the full text of the book. If you want it, let me know and I'll email it to you.

EDIT (again): And now it's back.

19 comments:

Nihil Novum said...

I sort of want it. I've been wanting to read some Murakami for a while. This is the same guy who wrote the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, right?

Carlton said...

He also directed Spirited Away.

Nathan said...

Yeah, Murakami wrote Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, but Hayao Miyazaki directed Spirited Away. What are you trying to say, that all Asians look the same? Whoa, man. Whoa.

Nihil Novum said...

Only their eyes and their names.

Christopher said...

And their *cough*

Alyson said...

Man, I love Asians. Not so sure about Asian literature though.

Christopher said...

Don't listen to her. She actually hates Asians.

Ecray said...

I want't, i want't so bad, can you let me have a digital copy of the book? in my country that text wasn't edited.

Anonymous said...

I would like it. Can you email me at bergeron.george@gmail.com?

JJadziaDax said...

It seem's like the site has been taken down again. Could you be so kind as to send me a digital copy? Thanks so much
Kim
jjadziadax@gmail.com

Spidy said...

Hello bro i want this book. Please send it to me sam.sumitkumar@gmail.com

Thanx in advance...

Handy Andy said...

I would love a pdf of this book if you would go to the trouble of sending me a copy. Thanks for indulging me. Andy- deedlit_2000@yahoo.com

John said...

I'd also love a copy. I've read most of the rest of Murakami's work, but have never found a source for Pinball.

johnmateer@gmail.com

Thanks much!

Bim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bim said...

My email addres is Bimbellina@gmail.com I;d be grateful if someone could please send me a pdf

Thank you :-D

Nkliph said...

Do you still read this? Would you send me a copy of pinball 1973?

nickag720@gmail.com

THX

Unknown said...

hey,

are you still emailing the pdf? i'd love to get a copy. andrew.bojun.wang@gmail.com

thanks!

idadyrseth1 said...

Hey!

Are you still emailing the pdf? I really really want to read this book, so I would be soooo gratefull if you could send it to me :)

Thanks and have a nice day!

ida_dyrseth@hotmail.com

Kristinchitza said...

I'm also interested in this pdf. I found the first part of the series on Goodreads, but I can't catch a break with Pinball. Hoping you'll see this and email me the pdf.

email: kristina.kruselj.bm@gmail.com