Thursday, 19 October 2006

Never Enough Murakami...

They say you're too much of a crazed Haruki Murakami fan when you order from Japan his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing. I guess now you can count me in as one of those crazed fans... I just got my copy yesterday.

It's a very small book, measuring only 4.25" x 5.75". This spoils my Murakami collection a bit though - I collect the UK editions - but I don't care! It looks so cute! How typical of those Japanese! Have you seen the new Picador Shots! books? It's as small as a Shots! book. But instead of costing RM7, this one costs RM50...

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 are the only two novels by Murakami that haven't made it into the West. Though translated by Alfred Birnbaum and published by Kodansha for Japanese students studying English, Murakami has stated that these two early efforts by him were weak and not fit to be republished.

And while the English translation of Hear the Wind Sing continues to be reissued in Japan, Pinball, 1973 hasn't and most likely won't be any time soon. This has resulted in any available copy being sold for up to US$500 by people taking advantage of its rarity. That's just crazy... especially when you can find a PDF of the book floating around on the net.

My solution to the Pinball problem - though highly unethical and undoubtedly illegal - has been to take the PDF, reformat the text, and print it into a book using Lulu. Problem solved.

I'm planning on marathoning through the whole Murakami "pantheon" that's available in English, which is why I've been making all this effort. I had planned earlier to start chronologically from A Wild Sheep Chase, Murakami's earliest novel published in English, but as it was the sequel to Pinball, 1973 and Hear the Wind Sing, I felt that reading it first would lack some context.

I might start my Murakami Marathon in December after the chaos of NaNoWriMo has settled down. Can't wait.

(For a review of Hear the Wind Sing, click here.)

6 comments:

  1. murakami was highly recommended by someone to me but for the life of me i can't find it anywhere! i'm obviously looking at the wrong places.

    i have to say i like your stuffed cow at the top of your blog! i'm mad about stuffed cows as well. anything cow or cow print, actually.

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  2. Murakami's usually in Asian or General Fiction. Good luck!

    Great to meet a fellow stuffed cow lover! I think I'm too mad over them... there's two on top of the monitor at work, another on the walls of the cubicle, one in my car, and even more hanging around in my room... truly a mad cow disease! :D

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  3. Sorry, The linkshare that you posted isn't working. Do you know another?
    Or someway of obtaining the pdf?

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  4. Hi I found your blog when I googled for "Hear the Wind Sing Singapore". I'm an avid Murakami fan and I've to say, getting a copy of it is like embarking on the Holy Grail for Murakami! May I know how you got hold of your copy for such a low price?

    Also, I'm glad I finally found someone who collects the UK editions like I do! I prefer the white covers as compared to the colorful US ones, they look much neater on my bookshelf too.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda! I got my copy on eBay for about SG$20. But that was back in 2006. Prices might have changed since then.

      I did a quick glance on eBay and it seems to have gone up.

      The UK covers are nicer, right? But they changed the paperback sizes since Kafka on the Shore and now my shelf doesn't look as nice anymore! :-/

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