Review: "Hear the Wind Sing" — 2 years ago
As a long-time reader of Haruki Murakami ever since picking up Norwegian Wood around 2005-2006, I’ve come to love his fluid writing style and surrealist narratives. To this point there are only two or three books of his that I haven’t read, and until today that included Hear the Wind Sing, his debut novel that was only ever released in Japan. Thank god for eBay!
If you’re like me and adore Murakami’s more prominent works like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and A Wild Sheep Chase then you’ll find Hear the Wind Sing interesting for a few different reasons. First off, this feels like a first novel from someone who has a raw talent for writing that has yet to realize its full potential. The narrative is almost non-existent, and the structure is all over the place, cut up into roughly 40 short chapters in an already tiny book; the only reason it’s 160 pages is because it comes as a pocket-sized digest volume that wouldn’t even make 70+ pages in hardcover.
While there is very little of what later becomes Murakami’s trademark surrealism, the unnamed protagonist fits right in with all of his later leading men, with his “whatever” attitude and existentialist queries. Unfortunately there is little development on his part, as it is with what few other characters reside in the book.
On the whole, Hear the Wind Sing is interesting enough, but it’s far from a great first impression if you’ve never picked up a Murakami novel before. I’d almost say it’s not worth reading unless you’re already familiar with him, and it’s definitely not worth rushing out to spend $15-20 on a digest-size paperback unless you adore Murakami like I do.