Born in 1951 in an affluent Tokyo suburb, Hajime -- beginning in Japanese -- has arrived at middle age wanting for almost nothing. The postwar years have brought him a fine marriage, two daughters, and an enviable career as the proprietor of two jazz clubs. Yet a nagging sense of inauthenticity about his success threatens Hajime''s happiness. And a boyhood memory of a wise, lonely girl named Shimamoto clouds his heart.In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the simple arc of a man''s life -- with its attendant rhythms of success and disappointment -- becomes the exquisite literary tableau of Haruki Murakami''s most haunting work. When Shimamoto shows up one rainy night, now a breathtaking beauty with a secret from which she is unable to escape, the fault lines of doubt in Hajime''s quotidian existence begin to give way. And the details of stolen moments past and present -- a Nat King Cole melody, a face pressed against a window, a handful of ashes drifting downriver to the sea -- threaten to undo him completely. Rich, mysterious, quietly dazzling, South of the Border, West of the Sun is Haruki Murakami''s wisest and most compelling work.