I don’t remember whereas there is another author apart from Haruki Murakami, whose book I want to borrow/buy/read immediately once I see it. According to my own reading list, he’s probably my favorite author of all time. That explains why I grabbed his Wind/Pinball.
At the very beginning of Wind/Pinball, there is a short introduction of Haruki’s writer’s beginning – what he was doing by then for a living and why he decided to start writing. Together with many other great writers, his start wasn’t at all glorious, and consisted primarily of writing at night at the kitchen table, after closing time of his jazz bar. I have a thing for such stories – they are brilliant examples of how talent can find its way, and in Haruki’s case that never is too late to start doing what we like.
It was a nice thing to discover that Haruki has been all the time little bit weird – in a good sense of word. Hear the Wind Sing (1980) and Pinball, 1973 (1980) have both visible signs of author’s distinctive style. We, readers, are not introduced to the main character (not even his name!), all settings are kind of surreal even for Tokyo, everything is in a gloomy atmosphere of uncommon relationships and there is actually no main plot, but rather few small ones without any significant climax.
Now, more than 30 years later since Haruki wrote Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, his writing has obviously evolved and his last books are not only longer, but offer also greater complexity. Therefore I must admit they are more fun for me to read. It may be caused by the fact that I haven’t read all books of the “Trilogy of the Rat” series, but I simply had a problem to find some connection to novels’ characters, except the bar owner J. In Hear the Wind Sing, the main character cares about nothing much in particular, just sex, his past (including dead girlfriends) and student life. In Pinball, 1973, the same character is somehow emotionless and passive, unless his dear game machine of pinball is in sight. This book has, at least for me, more obvious, united theme, and as I read both books in a one single edition, I preferred it over Hear the Wind Sing.
As a whole, I was happy to discover Haruki’s early works, especially after finding out how long and complicated it was to publish them outside of Japan. I believe that reading author’s first books gives better understanding to his style, same as appreciation of his writing development.