Equivocal endings and the theme of love in Murakami Haruki’s love stories

Wing Yin Virginia YEUNG

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article provides a close reading of three of Murakami Haruki’s most representative love stories: Norwegian Wood, South of the Border, West of the Sun, and Sputnik Sweetheart. It aims to explore the representation of love in these novels through investigating their equivocal or inconclusive endings. I argue that equivocality is incorporated into these memoir-style works of fiction by analysing narrative features of the final scene. Norwegian Wood is narrated in such a way that the centre of orientation gradually shifts from the ‘narrating self’ to the ‘narrated self’, a shift that reduces the distance between narrator and reader and adds indeterminacy to the ending. The last episode of Sputnik Sweetheart is temporally destabilised by a shift to simultaneous narration, making the scene appear imaginary or unreal. In South of the Border, West of the Sun, the plot arrangement allows for multi-interpretation. I argue that Murakami, in all these stories, has purposefully adopted these devices to avoid determinacy or definiteness, and such inconclusiveness complements and reflects his concept of love. Copyright © 2013 The Japanese Studies Association of Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-295
JournalJapanese Studies
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online dateNov 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Citation

Yeung, V. (2013). Equivocal endings and the theme of love in Murakami Haruki’s love stories. Japanese Studies, 33(3), 279-295.

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