Hear the Wind Sing
cover of English edition
|Original title||Kaze no uta o kike
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Followed by||Pinball, 1973|
Hear the Wind Sing (風の歌を聴け Kaze no uta o kike?) 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.
It is the first book in the so-called "Trilogy of the Rat" series of independent novels, followed by Pinball, 1973 (1980) and A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), before the later epilogue Dance Dance Dance (1988). All four books in the series have been translated into English, but Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 (which are realist novels slightly differing from the author's later style) were never widely distributed in the English-speaking world, having only been published in Japan by Kodansha under their Kodansha English Library branding (for English Foreign Language learners), and both only as A6-sized pocketbooks.
The author thought of the images of the story while watching the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium; he wrote it an hour at a time every night for four months; this became his first novel. When he submitted it for the first time to Japanese literary magazines such as Gunzo, the title was Happy Birthday, and White Christmas. The story takes place in 1970 over a period of nineteen days between August 8 and August 28, and is narrated by a 21-year-old unnamed man. The story contains forty small chapters amounting to 130-pages. The story covers the craft of writing, the Japanese student movement, and, like later Murakami novels, relationships and loss. Like later novels, cooking, eating and drinking, and listening to western music are regularly described. The narrator's close friend 'the Rat', around whom the trilogy of the Rat evolves, is a student and bar patron who expresses a general alienation towards society. The narrator describes the fictional American writer Derek Heartfield as a primary influence, citing his pulp science fiction works, and quoting him at several points.