First of all, y’all should know that I’m a sucker for first novels. Like, serious hard-on for them. And that’s very relevant with Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami. These are indeed his first two novels and, as is true of most first novels of eventual masters, they are deeply flawed. They’re also so delicious and lovely in large part because I know where he’s going. I know that he’s writing this fiction that’s a little too sweet and trying just a little too hard and is a little too self-conscious, and I know that all of these things are working against the genius that flows in his veins but god damn if it doesn’t charm me.
Would I recommend this as a starting point for people who’ve never read Murakami? Definitely not. But for those who’ve already fallen in love with him, it’s like looking back at your beau’s high school portrait and seeing him for the little naive, innocent, dork he was but through the blur of already loving the man he is today. It’s sweet and lovely and endearing. At least it was for me.