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Pinball, 1973 - Haruki Murakami Livejournal Community
Pinball, 1973
"You write well, you argue clearly, but you don't have anything to say."

So should one assume that this quote from Pinball, 1973 was a comment once thrown Murakami's way?

I'm sure I remember there being some Pinball discussions here in this community but I'm too lazy to dig them out. Thus, let me pose the perennial question of: what does everyone think of it? I finally decided to print it out, off the PDF, and have a friend bind it for me so that I could read it properly (you're great, Haruki, but no way am I paying that much for a real copy of this).

I'm not sure what I expected but I thought Pinball pretty good. Certainly there are some expected rough edges and refinements; not to mention the occasional odd line, or poor translation: "My internal clock has been running perceptibly behind. It occurs to me that this must be how organisms that multiply by cell-division experience time." Nor does the story feel anywhere near complete despite an acceptable conclusion.

What struck me most about this short piece was the melancholy that is entrenched within it, so much more than any other Murakami work. At least Murakami's later characters, even though they might not be happy at least had a boundless supply of sardonic wit to call upon and lighten the mood. That's distinctly lacking here. One passage, where the narrator talks about a particular girl who always receives phonecalls in the dorm, really struck me as sad. He concluded: "Polite voices, officious voices, touchingly sad voices, overbearing voices, and they'd all be asking asking for her name. I have long since managed to drive that name out of my mind; I only remember it was a pathetically ordinary name."

The future references to the likes of Naoko (I'm very fond of the lines: "Naoko shook her head and smiled to herself. It was a sort of straight-A co-ed smile, but it lingered in m mind an oddly long time. Long after she'd gone, her smile remained, like the grin of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.") and wells were nice ("We're always digging wells in our heads. While above the wells, birds flit back and forth."). I suppose all the story to the Rat would be interesting but I deliberately held off reading A Wild Sheep Chase until I had copies of Pinball and Hear The Wind Sing, even if it didn't stop me reading Dance, Dance, Dance.

So yeah, I rather liked Pinball. I think it's a shame it doesn't appear to be more widely read. And yes, what do other readers think? My next stop is HTWS~
5 comments or Leave a comment
From: of_pom Date: September 25th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've yet to read it. I ave a PDF copy, but i'm not too into reading off a screen. Luckily, a copy of HTWS is being mailed to me right now.
lakomka87 From: lakomka87 Date: September 26th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so jealous of you :( I'd love to read Pinball in English even if it's a PDF :(
oberstein From: oberstein Date: September 25th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 helped characterise "Boku" for me in my brain. I suppose it helps explain how he cares/doesn't care about things as presented in the later novels.
namaiki1970 From: namaiki1970 Date: September 26th, 2007 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Pinball, 1973

Enjoyed the review and couldn't agree more about wishing the novel was more widely available. Also agree with the slightly uncharacteristic sadness in the story - the almost wistful realisation of a period in life passing quickly

If anyone is interested, Pinball, 1973 is available again in pdf format.
terangbulan From: terangbulan Date: September 27th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pinball, 1973

does anyone have a PDF copy of Hear The Wind Sing? It is damned near impossible to obtain here in Malaysia :( could you email it to me plaese

It is nicholas86@gmail.com. heh
5 comments or Leave a comment