A few years before his translation of Murakami's third novel A Wild Sheep Chase would debut in America, Alfred Birnbaum was interested in bringing the literary world of Murakami Haruki to an English speaking audience. His first translation was Murakami's second novel Pinball, 1973. Birnbaum had hoped that the novel would be distributed internationally by Kodansha, but instead it and Birnbaum's 1987 translation of Murakami's debut novel Hear the Wind Sing were regulated to Kodansha English Language Library. This meant that instead of reaching a broader audience, the translated novel would solel...y be released in Japan with an appendix at the end that explained several obscure English terms.
Unlike the translation of Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973 soon became out of print and with the growth of Murakami's popularity and his reluctance to have either Hear the Wind Sing or Pinball, 1973 released to a wider English speaking audience, the book has become quite a collector's item fetching between 350-500 dollars on Ebay and the like. However, is the novel really a good read? I would say that it is near vital in understanding the formation of Murakami's writing and the importance of his distant first-person narrator.
Having won the Gunzo literary prize for new writers in 1979, Murakami penned Pinball, 1973 at a table within the confines of his bar called Peter Cat. Within this thin tome he returned to his characters "Boku," a masculine personal pronoun, and his friend the Rat. Whereas the first book was a bit disjointed and seemed more like a collection of vignettes than one cohesive story, Pinball, 1973 is a bit more cohesive and Boku actually has a goal: to find a long lost pinball machine called the Spaceship. Actually, the novel consists of two narratives: the first person account of Boku and the third-person account of the Rat. The two friends never meet each other within the book nor do they even mention each other, but there is a loneliness within the pages of the book that makes it evident how important the friendship they share is in between them.
After graduating college, Boku and a friend start a small translation business and are successful enough to hire a pretty secretary, whom Boku will later marry, and live with comfort. However, there is emptiness inside Boku as he continues to translate useless articles concerning such things as ball bearings and the like. One morning this emptiness is slightly filled when twin girls appear on each side of Boku in his bed. Cute and perfectly identical, the twin girls take care of Boku's needs, but he longs for something more: his deceased girlfriend Naoko and the Rat. Naoko is mentioned within the pages of Hear the Wind Sing as a French major who hung herself near the tennis courts. It is not evident within that book how much the suicide effected Boku, but within this book we learn that after her death he spent all of his time within an arcade playing the Spaceship pinball machine and he became quite good at the machine and fully understood it, something that he was unable to do with Naoko. He eventually almost forgets about the machine, but one day it pops up and grabs his heart and he decides to go on a quest to find it and his own history in the process. Unlike Boku who has at least a goal, the Rat broods, drinks alcohol, and chain smokes. His depression is quite deep, and the reader learns why he flees to Hokkaido within the pages of this book.
Whereas Hear the Wind Sing is quite barebones and its sentences clearly show Murakami's newness as a writer, Pinball, 1973 displays a maturing Murakami whose world of magical realism is beginning to form. However, in my opinion, the true power of the novel is Murakami's emphasis on desire and substitution of the desired object when the original is no longer available. A pretty powerful novel that unearths many of the themes that would continue to grow in Murakami's body of literature for twenty-five years plus after this novel was published, Pinball, 1973 is invaluable in understanding Murakami's body of work and two of his most important characters: Boku and the Rat.続きを読む ›
村上春樹「１９７３年のピンボール」の英語版。 英語の勉強で読みましたが素敵な表現の宝庫です。 「涙を誘うのも哀しい話」 pathetic tear-jerkers 「冗談半分のでたらめ」 jumbles of half-nonsense 「成績でAばかりとってる優秀な女の子がしそうな笑い方」 a sort of straight-A coed smile 「雑魚寝をした」 fall asleep sprawled out any which way on the floor together 「映画の半券」 a movie ticket stub 「実状はまあそんなところかな」 That's about the size of it. 「田舎の単線の電車」 one-track local railroad 「赤い頬をした」 rosy-cheeked 「とても物静かな男」 an ultra-quiet type 「すごい金脈を見つけた」 had struck a real gold mine 「オンザロックを作る」 fix drinks-on-the-rocks 「何月何日までという締め切り」 deadline:such and such a date... 「雑費」 incidental expenses 「５対４という配分」 five-hour aplit 「２０代半ばの全盛時」 the prime of mid-twenties 「差し歯」 tooth-cap 「南向き」 southern exposure 「まるまる１時間かける」 spend one solid hour 「わずかな夏の名残がとどまっていた」 some small reminder of summer lingered on 「本当に苦しい羽目に陥る」 be in a real fix 「細かいことをきちんと説明する」 put the pieces in place 「ゆくゆくは」 by and by 「流行の」 in style 「その他」 and what you have 「とにかくひどく眠かった」 felt just plain sleepy 「呆然として」 dumb struck 「ご苦労様」 Much obliged. 「きっとかなり大変でしょ」 Bet that must take some doing,eh? 「彼はそれで本当に参った」 That did do it for him. 「同時にうなずく」 nod in unison 「死に掛かっている」 on its last legs 「ごくわずかの可能性」 an outside chance 「彼の心を奪う」 claim his heart 「死を予感した象のように」 like an elephant that knew its time had come 「おせっかいな」 officious 「平坦な抑揚ない声で」 a flat,unmodulated voice 「魔法瓶」 a thermos pot 「故郷」 the old homefront 「贅肉の無い」 free of excess flesh 「育ちの良い」 a good upbringing 「断面図」 cross-section 「花粉症」 hay fever 「超一流の」 top notch 「上々である」 Getting there. 「高架の高速道路」 elevated expressways 「疲れているように見えた」 looked shot 「空っぽになってしまったような気がした」 felt emptied out 「特に上機嫌で」 in paticularly good spirits 「ゆったりと広がっていった」 occupied a good spread 「頭がくらくらする」 light-headed 「日々の慌しさ」 the day-to-day bustle 「いちゃいちゃする」 make out 「大勢の女の子をものにした」 had myself a string of girls 「実にそんな具合だった」 That pretty well summed it up. 「どこからともなく」 out of nowhere 「うとうとする」 nod off 「その思い出に耽る」 dwell on the memory 「前に進むことも、後に退くこともできない」 No progress,no setbacks. 「物思いにふけって」 lost in thought 「おやすみ」 you get some shut-eye 「足がかりも見つからないまま」 without gaining a foothold 「忙しく動き回る」 buzz around 「時代遅れになる」 fall behind the times 「ほっとした」 took a load off me 「不思議な星の下に生まれた」 was born under a strange sign 「漫画の吹き出しのように」 like baloons of dialogue in a comic book 「ツキが僕を見放した」 Luck had lost all sight of me. 「潮時かもな」 Maybe the tide's going out. 「一ミリの狂いも無く」 not a fraction of an inch off 「うんざりした顔つき」 bottomed-out expressions 「胡散臭そうに僕を眺めた」 gave me a dirty look 「観葉植物の鉢」 potted ornamentals 「記念品」 keepsake 「時々」 off and on 「電話のむこうで」 on the other end of the line 「砂漠に水をまくような仕事です」 It's like sprinkling water over desert. 「一流の技術者」 crack technicians 「最先端の発明」 state-of-the-art innovation 「行方」 whereabouts 「テクニック中心だった」 I was geared to technique. 「どこかの酒場に行き着く」 wind up in some dive 「運を天にまかせた動物」 hit-or-miss creature 「もっともらしい顔で」 with an anything-you-say sort of expression 「無意識に」 of its own will 「たちまち」 in no time at all 「思い出せないくらい」 beyond recall 「おきまりの手順」 the routine of setting up 「今度会った時に」 next time our paths cross 「どこまでも」 to who knows where 「寿命が切れた」 Expiration date's up. 「うそだろ」 Come off it! 「続きの」 tail-end of 「恋人達は愛をささやいていた」 Lovers whispered sweet nothing. 「もと来た道を戻った」 retraced my steps続きを読む ›