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Hear the Wind Sing

(The Rat #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  22,581 ratings  ·  2,103 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.

There’s not a whole lot to say story wise. A young man drinks a lot of beer and has strange conversations with a mysterious young lady he just met. So, classic Murakami.
Paperback, 130 pages
Published June 1979 by Kodansha International Ltd.
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Gina You can download the free e-book right on Goodreads, if you haven't yet.…moreYou can download the free e-book right on Goodreads, if you haven't yet.(less)
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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Average rating 3.58  · 
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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
Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed
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
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
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
Emily B
2.5 rounded up
This wasn’t memorable enough for me
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mutasim Billah
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
“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
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, 1973 and then solidified and matured with Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Fino's Murakami Reviews - Novels
Hear the Wind Sing (1979/1987-2015)
Pinball, 1973 (1980/1985-20
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
chantel nouseforaname
Murakami’s first novel/novella!

I’m on a mission to read ‘em all. One day. Not like go through the mission right now or anything but.. one day.

For a first novel it’s interesting, a little strange and very aimless. Typical Murakami exploring men’s psyche, reality, all the like. It was an interesting story about this college kid and his friends, girlfriend, brother. His experiences working, connecting with others, etc. Nothing to write home about.

There were some thoughts that were profound in th
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
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
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
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
Very subtle and well-written. Simplicity at its finest. Tbh I had no idea what I was getting myself into but the story just went on and on and on and I couldn't stop reading. ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This was the first novel by Haruki Murakami. The unnamed narrator is 21 years old and is back home from college for his summer vacations. He gets drunk with his friend called Rat often. He thinks a lot about Derek Hartfield(fictional American author) and how the girls he slept with. The narrator also meets a girl with 9 fingers. This story is somewhat slow but captivating at the same time. The vibe of this one is gloomy and nostalgic.
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
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
“The more honest I try to be, the more the right words recede into the distance.”

Murakami's first book was an almost washout for me. Not because his books tell you what to expect for you to be disappointed - but the writer's hooks are far from compelling.

An unnamed author is describing the time from 17s till he is 29. There is his friend - Rat who is trying to write. There is a 9 fingered girl who is the same sunsign as him (don't ask me why that is relevant) whom he meets and then loses. There
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
Stars for few notable quotes and moments from the book.
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Hear the Wind Sing (The Rat #1) by Haruki Murakami - Starting September 17th 2020 6 7 Sep 24, 2020 04:01AM  
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 6 46 Feb 25, 2015 07:27PM  
Haruki Murakami f...: Hear the Wind Sing - Movie 7 229 Aug 25, 2014 12:44AM  
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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 (The Rat #4)

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