Legend has it that on a warm day in Spring 1974 while watching a baseball game Murakami-san had the inspiration to write his ﬁrst novel, later called Hear the Wind sing.
This early book, a precursor to A Wild Sheep Chase, hasn’t been oﬃcially published in the US, but an edition published in English as an English teaching guide can be found in certain channels. It’s short and a little scattered and barely surreal or fantastic in any way like his later works, but does give some depth to the characters of the Rat, J, and the narrator of A Wild Sheep Chase. In certain ways it reminds me of Norwegian Wood in mood, and there is the intrigue of recurring references to an American writer Derek Heartﬁeld, who is apparently entirely ﬁctitious.
One of my goals for 2005 is to read the rest of Murakami’s books, with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World next, probably. Apparently it’s “the most readable mind-fuck ever.” The others being Dance Dance Dance, South of the Border, West of the Sun, and the new book coming out this month Kafka on the Shore. As well as Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words (a semi-biography by Jay Rubin, who has translated most of his works into English) and another early book, Pinball 1973, if I can ﬁnd it. That alone should keep me a little busy, at least for a few months.