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Hear the Wind Sing

(The Rat #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  16,635 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews
Hear the Wind Sing is the first novel by Haruki Murakami; it first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Gunzo, one of the most influential literary magazines in Japan.

It is the first of the "boku" tetralogy; translated by Alfred Birnbaum.
Paperback, 130 pages
Published 1979 by Kodansha International Ltd.
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) That's the point of "boku" fiction. Boku means I-myself. There are strong biographical elements from Murakami's life in the story but Boku is not Mura…moreThat's the point of "boku" fiction. Boku means I-myself. There are strong biographical elements from Murakami's life in the story but Boku is not Murakami. It's a dialogue between Boku and the reader. The best first-person-singular narration connects with the reader until the reader can see him/herself reflected in "I". Murakami is very good at that when he's on form.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
風の歌を聴け = Kaze no uta o kike = Hear the Wind Sing (The Rat, #1), Haruki Murakami
Hear the Wind Sing is the first novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Gunzo (one of the most influential literary magazines in Japan), and in book form the next month. The novel was adapted by Japanese director Kazuki Ōmori in a 1981 film distributed by Art Theatre Guild. An English translation by Alfred Birnbaum appeared in 1987.

Feeling writing as a terribly painful tas
I tried to get into Wind/Pinball: Two Novels and I have to say that although the prose reads beautifully, it flows into my mind and out again, smoothly, a slick of oil on a ripple, now it's gone. I read more than half before finally wondering why was I putting myself through this. It wasn't a test. I don't have to measure up to any standard. This is just for enjoyment and I wasn't enjoying it. Nothing I read, or listened to (I tried both) held my attention. Marukami's characters were just people ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

Perfect example of beauty in simplicity!

Even after having read a bunch of novels by Murakami, I always find a new flavor in each of them. Sure they have some similar characters and recurring themes, but each of his novels does have a different note in its voice and a different mood.

Hear the Wind Sing again has a nameless narrator, quirky characters, off-the-wall dialogue, lots of beer, some music and some literature. His characters are the last people one would expect to break into an emotional
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
"How can those who live in the light of day possibly comprehend the depth of night?"
- Nietzche


A nice first novel(la) with most all the known Murakami tropes already stirred in. There is music (pop, jazz, classical) with specific references to actual pressings. There are: cats, bars, whiskey, birds, alienation and needy women. Murakami ventures into existential philosophy and Western literature (both real and fake). It is all there. Things that would later pop up again and again in his later, str
Sam Quixote
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Haruki Murakami’s first novel Hear the Wind Sing is like a lot of first novels in that it’s unfocused, rambling and mostly about the author - and yet it’s kinda compelling because of how well written it is!

There’s no story to speak of. The novel takes place within 3 weeks of the summer of 1970 where our nameless narrator in his early 20s bums around his small town. He meets a wealthy spoilt brat called The Rat who sits in a bar, reads Western novels, and spouts pseudo-intellectual nonsense. He
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, out-of-asia
I didn't enjoy this first book in the Rat series quite as much as books 2 and 3 (A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance) but it was still fun. I am glad to have read the series out of order; otherwise, I might not have been sufficiently engaged by this one to continue. I think it's better appreciated having read the others first. It's short (just over 100 pages) and so not a whole lot happens. However, we do learn how our young protagonist and the Rat meet, and there are some other interesting ...more
Mutasim Billah (semi-hiatus)
“When the time comes, everybody’s got to end up where they belong. Only me, I didn’t have a place to call my own. It’s like musical chairs.”

A little rough around the edges, and heavily influenced by Kerouac(i.e. On the Road), Hear the Wind Sing is Murakami's first ever novel. The novel tells the story from the perspective of an unnamed narrator as he writes down the events of the summer vacation of 1970 that he spent at his hometown on the seaside. The story introduces some of the most notable M
Hannah Garden
Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
James found out that the only two Murakami books I haven't read are this one and Pinball, 1973. He got me this one and then, because the other is like rare and therefore expensive (these two earliest Murakami novels have been translated but not published here--only in Japan, I guess, by cute Kodansha) HE MADE ME A COPY OF PINBALL. That is right, he MADE me one. He got the text from some fan's website, printed everything out, COLLATED that shit or whatever, and then BOUND it.

Tell me that is not
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1970s, japanese, reviewed
A brief note before we begin, this review may (or may not) be revised later. I’ve written it while suffering from major jet-lag (literally traveled for 30 hours, and went through a 11 hour time change in the process). For all I know, it may only make sense to me as the person who wrote it and be absolutely incomprehensible to everyone else. If so, consider it a rather parallel to the novel itself. :)

For those of you who have ever endeavored to write a novel, I feel your pain. That moment of putt
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In November this book traveled from Japan to New Orleans via my son and then traveled back to Japan with me the following month. I brought it because it's small and lightweight, easily fitting in my carry-on, so I could read it on the plane ride over.

If you already know HM's work, this first novella of his might seem lightweight in substance as well (though it is well-written) but you'll have the pleasure of recognizing many of the themes and motifs that will surface and grow in his later, longe
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hooray, another new Murakami book to sink my teeth into! When I say new, I mean newly published as Hear the Wind Sing was Haruki Murakami's first ever published novel, in 1979, and has recently been published with Pinball, 1973 in a new English translation.

This book doesn't really have a plot at such - it follows our narrator who spends his time sitting in his favourite bar with his best friend The Rat, chatting, watching baseball, and pursuing a girl with nine fingers. What I loved about it tho
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
You could almost call Hear the Wind Sing a short story or a novella it is that short. It is the debut novel of Haruki Murakami.

It is set in Japan in the 1970’s and revolves around the life of a protagonist whose name we never find out. He is a university student on a break and the novel is predominantly about his character and his thoughts during this period of time. Much of the novel sees him and his friend, "Rat", drinking and chatting at J’s Bar. Rat is a writer and is my favourite character
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I gave a star each for:
-the Murakami-ness and how which ever book of his you read it feels like coming home
-the tragic backstories of the characters that were merely hinted at
-the beautiful writing

I took of a star for:
-the open ending and the pointlessness you feel towards the end
-being a bit forgettable

I'm counting this for the Around the World in 80 Books challenge as a book set in Japan.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5* and more!

This is my first Murakami book. I have chosen an odd book to begin with. I loved his writing style. It's simple, beautiful and very much alive. I don't know how else to put it. The characters though they don't speak much are sketched in a way you believe they are real and out there living their life.

This book felt like an incomplete story. Theres no real beginning or ending to a "story", there's not much of a story too. This book is about a 21 year old guy telling us about his time
Michael Finocchiaro
This was one of Murakami's very first pieces of writing. My understanding is that it was so hard to find in translation for years because Haruki was not proud of his early attempts at finding his voice. While it is true that it is at times uneven, it still has that unique Murakami spark that got better with Pinball and then solidified and mature with Norwegian Wood and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
Nick G
Mar 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-read-have
I've been on a roll with Murakami for quite a while now. I guess this recent streak could be called a sort of study of one of my favorite authors. Knowing enough about him now, I wanted to see how it all started, even if it did mean paying too much for this short, tiny book (literally the smallest book I've ever read - it fits in my shirt pocket).

Many of the better known Murakami elements are there: the abstractly beautiful feelings that arise from meeting a new girl, beer, bittersweet waves of
Andrew Schirmer
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, translation
"There's no such thing as perfect writing. Just like there's no such thing as perfect despair."

Sounds like Dostoyevsky, but then you'd have to guess again.

I have not a few Japanese comrades who are mystified at the extraordinary popularity of Haruki Murakami abroad. I remain split--some of the stories and novels are tightly wound and deeply affecting, others overindulgent and sprawling.

Count this obscurity as one of the former. My friend Akemi graciously sent a secondhand copy via Japanese Ama
Murakami ...i can understand why ppl dislike him or find him strange and can’t deal with his writing but that’s what i adore, I guess. I like weird, I like simple ...those two parts of the whole story are Anekdoten out of someone’s life having vacation from life I think. I like his character building other then other authors he doesn’t need much writing to show what this person is. Please if you want to read this in the right order not like me 🙄 but I must say so bad or difficult it wasn’t for m ...more
Faroukh Naseem
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I read 1Q84 I was spell bound by the details to which he took me into his so-called 2 moon world.
Yesterday I read Hear the Wind Sing (it’s a pretty small book and mostly short dialogues between the characters)

It’s his first book and you can tell, but at the same time after finishing it I felt it was actually pretty deep (Maybe it is because he is ‘Murakami’) or maybe because it actually is that good.
Very much like Catcher in the Rye with a hint of Fight Club.

It’s the kind of book which woul
Patrick McCoy
I was surprised to see Haruki Murakami's Hear The Wind Sing at the bookstore. It is his first novel that was published in English for English language learners by Kodansha in 1987 (it was originally published in Japanese in 1979) I had assumed that it was out of print. It is a thin Japanese sized volume and only 128 pages with Japanese translation notes. Incidentally, his second novel, Pinball 1973, is equally difficult to find.

This novel may have been the precursor to two of his other novels, T
Reem Ghabbany
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
although this is beautifully written, I completely missed the plotline in this one
Thomas Hübner
Nov 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Hear the Wind Sing is Haruki Murakami’s first book. The short novel was published in 1979.

The story takes place in August 1970 when the nameless narrator is in his early twenties. He is spending his time mostly drinking beer with his friend, the Rat (we never learn his real name) and the barkeeper J (we also never learn his real name). There is also a girl – you guessed it already: her name is never revealed – who has only nine fingers, with a mother she does
Trupti Dorge
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
This is the first novel written by Murakami and took him 10 months to write. He sent it for a contest and won the first prize.

'Hear the Wind sing' has no plot, none of the characters have depth and the narrator is a college student who jumps from one topic to another and from present to past without any preamble whatsoever. He spends his holidays in his hometown with his friend 'Rat' and reminisces about his past girlfriends, drinks bear, listens to the radio and randomly talks about his favouri
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
It's arrived(!), but . . . it's such a small thing. Who knew some books could still be placed in pockets after all, but of course this I'm taking precious care of, as if it were an inheritance.


After having read this small piece, I'm puzzled why some consider it only a short story. It's a novella, no more or less. Still, I can understand why Murakami and his publishers are in no rush to republish this: it has the depressive flatness and real
Nabilah Firdaus
Hear the Wind Sing is the first book by Murakami. It was okay, only okay.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
As I know that this is Murakami’s first venture into the world of writing novels or in this case, a novella, I see general ideas and similar characterization for which would eventually become ‘Norwegian Wood’. These include the narrators love for music, his nonchalant whatever type attitude and how he interacts with the opposite sex. I’ve seen people make comments that he cannibalizes his works more than any author and with just a few of the books I’ve read of his, I’m inclined to agree. As rate ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
For Murakami fans, this book has all of the familiar building blocks (Western music, Western literature, beer, mildy neurotic female character, etc.) of his story telling. It's a shame that he doesn't like the book so much that he doesn't want it reprinted in English. For a first book, it is really good.
Shaimaa Ali
The first work ever written by Haruki Murakami. Hadn’t it won a prize, we wouldn’t have ever heard if him as a writer, as he never had a copy if it before he sent it to that magazine.

Lots of Murakami’s writing themes started in this novel .. it’s the first of the Rat series ( that it seems I read in reverse) and now I’m going to read it all in order ..

Thanks dear Murakami for being my favorite contemporary writer <3 <3
তানজীম Rahman)
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the problems with Murakami's writing is that his books start to feel really similar to one another if you read a lot of them consecutively. In that regard, Hear the Wind Sing was refreshingly different from his other works.
You can see the author finding his voice in this book. He conducted a lot of experiments, especially ones with form (like the Radio DJ segments, for example). This is something he stopped doing as his style matured, but I quite liked the bits of uncertainty on display i
Dec 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: asia, 1-kindle
I read/heard/made up in a dream that Murakami would prefer no one read his first two books. But lately, for really no reason I can pin down, I've gotten interested in the idea of reading books by authors in order -written or published, I haven't obsessed about the details- and until now hadn't done anything with that idea.

Until I found myself bag-sitting while everyone else was running the NQR hash, under a train bridge at night with a podium someone rescued from the trash and a chair I borrowe
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Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 6 42 Feb 25, 2015 07:27PM  
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Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am

Other books in the series

The Rat (4 books)
  • Pinball, 1973 (The Rat, #2)
  • A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)
  • Dance Dance Dance

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