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Wind/Pinball: Two Novels

(The Rat #1-2)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  22,072 ratings  ·  2,209 reviews
The debut short novels--nearly thirty years out of print-- by the internationally acclaimed writer, newly retranslated and in one English-language volume for the first time, with a new introduction by the author.

These first major works of fiction by Haruki Murakami center on two young men--an unnamed narrator and his friend and former roommate, the Rat. Powerful, at times
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Knopf (first published 1979)
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Andrea Oh yeah, you are absolutely correct on that one. The reason that it was out of print for so long is that Murakami considered his earliest work not goo…moreOh yeah, you are absolutely correct on that one. The reason that it was out of print for so long is that Murakami considered his earliest work not good enough to be out there. Perhaps pressure from the publishers finally changed his mind. (less)
Niko Thomas They were retranslated and the copies that were printed were only in limited quantities.

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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  22,072 ratings  ·  2,209 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-authors
These are Murakami’s earliest novels – novellas really as each is only about 100 pages. Both are about the same two young men, an unnamed narrator and his friend and former roommate, ‘The Rat.’ Actually there is a third 'Rat’ book but for some reason it is not included with these two. I’ve not read the later, longer novels but supposedly these two shorts are prequels to Murakami’s other novels, A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance.


They are about anomie and loneliness of youth as these two yo
Edward Lorn
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Murakami completionists
When I find a new-to-me author and dig their work, two things normally happen. I seek out everything they've written and buy it all up. Next, I do some research. I find out which titles are their least favorite and/or which titles have the lowest overall fan approval/rating here on Reads of the Good. Because of this, my experiences are usually predictable. Fifty-million Elvis fans can't be wrong. Right? If I start with the shittiest stuffs, I'm bound to have shitty experiences, at least at first ...more
Nat K

"There's no such thing as a perfect piece of writing. Just as there's no such thing as perfect despair."

So begins the opening line to Haruki Murakami's first novella Hear The Wind Sing. Perfection, like beauty, I'd beg to argue, is in the eye of the beholder.

My obsession with Haruki Murakami started well over twenty years ago. On the way home from work, an intriguing book title caught my eye in a bookstore that no longer exists. The bookstore was "Max Ells" for anyone's memory that stretches tha
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015

Extra Ball at 600,000 points



My first exposure to Murakami was in my early college years. I checked out 'A Wild Sheep Chase' (Boku #3) one summer from a military library and after I read it, but before I returned it, the library had mysteriously burned down. I'm not sure if I still owe the library a late fee or not. I had no way to return the book, and after reading it, I didn't ever want to. I saved it from the fire. I saved it from oblivion. It was
da AL
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Murakami's writing is spare & profound. What I especially enjoyed here was his intro essay, "The Birth of My Kitchen Table Fiction," which describes his journey to becoming a great writer. He tells of how he taught himself the art of storytelling -- lots of reading, trial & error, even learning to become succinct & to dispense with overwriting by drafting first in English, then translating his story into Japanese. ...more
Barry Pierce
Hear the Wind Sing: an unlikable guy writes about his past relationships. Genuinely enjoyable.

Pinball, 1973: an unlikable guy writes about.....pinball and twins. Not as genuinely enjoyable.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Eh. It wasn't bad. It was just... okay.

Nothing much happens, in typical Murakami style. Which I don't normally mind, actually I really enjoy books with very little plot, but it was just kind of dull in this.
And god I know Murakami is sexist a lot of the time in his books, but it was over the top in this one. Seriously "the twins" in Pinball 1973 seemed to have literally no purpose other than to provide the narrator with a couple of feelings. Oh, and to have sex with him and make him food and cof
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
If you are a fan of Murakami's and are interested in finding out how his writing career started, then this petite book is a book for you. "Wind/Pinball" features two novellas which were the very first stories that Murakami wrote in his kitchen, late in the night. The stories are somewhat quirky and incoherent, and it's evident that they're written by an author starting out. But at the same time, they contain clear traits and similarities to some of Murakami's future novels which turned out to be ...more
Sean Smart
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pinball was very good and written in the style that most Murakami readers/fans would recognise and enjoy. However Wind felt unfinished, confusing and felt like it was written by someone else.
Sam Quixote
Wind/Pinball collects Haruki Murakami’s first two novels, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. I give Wind 3 stars and Pinball 2 stars so I guess technically it’s a 2.5 stars but neither book was that impressive so I rounded down to 2 stars - it’s really only for Murakami fans. I reviewed each book individually below - enjoy!


Hear the Wind Sing - 3 stars

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 - a
Kyriakos Sorokkou
My first book in September.
My first Murakami.
Murakami's first novel(la)s

Before becoming a novelist Murakami was owning a jazz bar and during breaks he has writing these two novellas. They are part of a four book series with a common protagonist, the Rat.

I don't know if it was wise to start with my Murakami experience by reading his first novels instead of something more well known, but many people said that these books contain seeds in the germination phase of some of his most well known books,
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, read-in-2017
I think the reason I am so drawn to Murakami right now is that he is writing my feelings. There are a lot of really painful things going on in my life right now and Murakami captures the feelings I've been having so well. His characters are so relatable that I feel like they are me when I read this book. While Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 really weren't about anything, and nothing happened, I don't even care. I just felt this novel. These 2 short stories, and Norwegian Wood, have stayed w ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
2 stars

Easily the best part of this two-novella collection (his very first written/published output, written in the 1970s) 'is Haruki Murakami's introduction, wherein he tries to explain the epiphany (to switch his career focus from bar owner to novelist) he receives from watching a Yakult Swallows baseball game. (Not unlike the epiphany to stop chain-smoking and become a marathon runner he relates in his What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, written long after this.) Murakami completists
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
The version of “Hear the Wind Sing” is in a book that has another novella, “Pinball, 1973”. “Hear the Wind Sing” was a quick read. Mainly it involves am unnamed young woman I believe in her 20s and the protagonist, an unnamed student also in his 20s. Nothing much of consequence happens. There is a great deal of conversation between he and she, and he also has commentary at several places in the novella about a writer who committed suicide in 1938, Derek Hartfield. Hartfield is made up, i.e., a f ...more
Mutasim Billah
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
The foreword to the book has Murakami recalling his early days as the owner of a jazz bar, how he had the sudden inspiration to write after attending a baseball game, how he spent nights at the kitchen-table writing his first two novels and his feelings towards them after all this time. For reviews to the novels, go to the following links.

-> Hear the Wind Sing

-> Pinball, 1973
Vicky "phenkos"
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I enjoyed this - Murakami's first novel. It certainly didn't have the polish of later work, and the storyline was pretty basic, however it did convey a sense of displacement, broken relationships, thwarted ambitions. The dialogue is snappy, the rhythm is syncopated, thoughts and emotions are "shown", rather than "told".

"You like Tokyo?"
"One place or another - it's all the same to me."
"I guess so. I haven't left this town once since the Tokyo Olympics."
"You like it here?"
"As you said. i
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm sure a lot of people choosing to read this book are aware that Murakami did not originally believe these were worthy of translation, as he wrote them at a time where he was discovering who he was as an author while owning a jazz bar.

I would have to disagree. Before I move forward I want to say that I'd rate Hear the Wind Sing at five stars, and put Pinball, 1973 down for four.

It is easy to notice the unpolished parts of Wind in comparison to Murakami's other works, and though I'd never rec
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was buddy read ten with the wonderful Nat K. While Nat reviewed the books together in one review, I reviewed them separately.

"Hear the Wind Sing" -

"Pinball 1973" -

Nat's wonderful review -

These two novels have definitely made me a fan of Murakami and I will be reading his other books in the future. Thanks Natto! :-)
Katie Lumsden
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I have such mixed feelings here. I love Murakami's writing style but I struggle with the with the strangeness of his stories and also with his depiction of women. ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
By pure chance my first encounter with the authors I came to love most was never through their early works. In the case of Haruki Murakami, this was pure luck. Because if “Hear the Wind Sing” had been my first novel of his, I hardly ever would have read a second one.

More than anything else, “Hear the Wind Sing” is a series of atmospheric snapshots – it offers rather impressions than events. Still, the novel does show quite some elements in which you can recognise your typical Murakami from his
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, re-read, 2017
The thing is, although these are Murakami's first books, they were late being available in English. This means that if you read them it is probably because you have already read Murakami and have already decided you enjoy his books. You start these books predisposed to like them. This was my second reading of them.

In the cold light of day, trying to put that predisposition to one side, these are still good books of their genre. Their genre being "Murakami". I freely admit to being a fan. I have
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Copy and pasting from my Twitter.... because it captures the inanity.

"Ok so these two old-ass Murakami novellas I'm reading are wacky. The first one, literally nothing happens except the narrator drinks......a lot of beer, contemplates the meaning/purpose of writing, and dates a girl with 9 fingers....sadness and regret galore...YET I still found it ENTIRELY COMPELLING somehow. Much better than Colorless Tsukuru....The second novella is about a translator who wakes up one morning to find twins
Paul Secor
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Haruki Murakami's two earliest works, I was brought back to the situation he describes in his introduction - being at a baseball game and being struck by the realization that he thought he could write a novel. My thoughts went back to 1990 and seeing Bernie Williams play for the Albany-Colonie Yankees, a class AA minor league team. It was obvious to me (and, I'm sure to others), that Bernie Williams had all of the skills and tools to become a major league ball player - they just had to b ...more
David Katzman
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 are Murakami's first two novels, although really more novellas. I read them out of curiousity, to see how he started out, rather than expecting much, and mild curiosity is about what I got out of them.

Hear the Wind Sing is a straightforward story with none of the oddity or surreality of Murakami's later books. The story moves quickly although little occurs. The characters are opaque and don't offer much to care about. My biggest beef with it is the pretentiou
Jonathan K
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Having read several current books by this author I had high expectations. He has the talent to create memorable characters, unusual plots and weave fantasy elements within the story fabric. None of these are exhibited here. Instead the stories meander aimlessly, and there's little to grasp or engage with. I read the first story and was so disappointed I didn't bother with the second. He obviously evolved substantially as a writer since these early stories ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murakami-mania
I read these when they first came out in hardback. I even wrote a review, which said words to the effect of ;

You can tell they're early pieces of writing but the Murakami style and madness is all there waiting to burst out.

But GR glitches removed the book from my shelves completely. So I've re added it/them as read because they are. I hope it doesn't go on my reading challenge for this year though.
Reem Ghabbany
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
This book was annoying cause there was almost no plot at all. I mostly enjoyed the dialogues between the characters and as usual in a Murakami book, I like the characters. They’re always weirdly amazing
This was my least favorite from the Murakami books. I really hate giving this a low rating since I like all of his books
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami, like much of Murakami's work defies simple description and are to be enjoyed for the sheer poetry of his prose. Murakami tells complex tales of thought and relationships and through the twisted mirror of his imagination, we glimpse these worlds that border our own.

"...There's no such thing as a perfect piece if writing. Just as there's no such thing as perfect despair..."

Wind and Pinball are two short novels that center on the lives of an unnamed narr
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
This is the first time I have read anything by Murakami and I found it to be pretty good, he might be a popular author one day. :)

His writing style is pretty interesting, I think he wrote these in Japanese, translated into English and then wrote that translation back into Japanese, at least it were something like that. The result ends up being lots of short sentences and small amounts of speech. The one thing I don't get about these two books is they are the "Rat stories" the character known as
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting to read as these are Murakami's first two books.
There was a really interesting introduction where Murakami describes how he came to be a writer.Wind was very short and really felt like he was just experimenting and learning
his trade.There were some great parts in it where you get a taste of what is to come with his writing.But Pinball was very much more like the style of all his later books and was really very enjoyable to read.
It's always very refreshing to read Haruki Murakami
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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)
  • Hear the Wind Sing (The Rat, #1)
  • Pinball, 1973 (The Rat, #2)
  • A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)
  • Dance Dance Dance (The Rat #4)

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