Quick Hits

A Rare Treat for Murakami Fans: Pinball, 1973

By posted at 3:59 pm on May 17, 2007 8

If you need to get your Murakami fix, but can’t stomach the idea of picking up After Dark, here’s your solution.

Written in 1980, Pinball, 1973 was Murakmai’s second novel. It was published by Kodansha and has been out of print for several years, although it’s available at Amazon for a whopping $225.

The book is part of the “Trilogy of the Rat” (actually four books), which begins with Murakami’s first book, Hear the Wind Sing and includes A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance (probably my favorite of his books). Apparently, Murakami refuses to allow either Hear the Wind Sing or Pinball, 1973 to be published outside of Japan, which is ironic, considering both of them are, in my opinion, far superior to either Sputnik Sweetheart or After Dark. This translation, linked below, along with Hear the Wind Sing, was done by Alfred Birnbaum for Japanese readers trying to learn English.

The story is classic Murakami, before that became a bad thing. A rootless man who loves Dostoevsky spends his days looking for a hard to find part for a classic pinball machine. Mysterious twins move into his apartment. There’s a well and a cat. While it’s no masterpiece, it’s a good read for Murakami fans and those looking for a place to get started with his oeuvre.

Here’s a link to a PDF of Birnbaum’s translation of Murakami’s Pinball, 1973.

Bonus link: Some fan-translated short stories I stumbled on while researching this.

Update 9/17: The link to the PDF has been fixed.

Update 3/8/09: The link to the PDF has been fixed again!

The Millions' future depends on your support. Become a member today!

Share this article

More from the Millions

8 Responses to “A Rare Treat for Murakami Fans: Pinball, 1973”

  1. Ed
    at 5:53 am on September 17, 2007

    Hey the link doesn't work anymore?

  2. Amy
    at 2:46 am on March 8, 2009

    The link isn't working, and I really would love to read this. Would you mind updating it for us?

  3. James
    at 11:27 am on October 14, 2009

    Thanks so much. I just finished reading my translated pocket edition of Hear the Wind Sing!

    Also, I emailed Random House to ask about when 1Q84 would be released and they actually responded right away saying approx. Fall 2011. Bummer that it’s so far off but pretty cool that they responded with a real answer.

  4. d-r0ck
    at 12:15 am on October 27, 2009

    Thank you!

  5. BrandanW
    at 3:43 pm on October 31, 2009

    Why is it a bad thing….The story is classic Murakami, before that became a bad thing. I dont understand….hemingway can write the same war stories and it not become a bad thing. Cormack mccarthy aside, haruki murakami is the greatest living writer.

  6. danup
    at 9:38 pm on January 7, 2010

    Apparently the Birnbaum translation of Pinball is now back in print in Japan, which means it should be as inexpensive as Hear the Wind Sing pretty soon.

    I love Birnbaum’s translations, incidentally. He’s got a great ear for English.

  7. Keith Peters
    at 9:25 am on May 13, 2010

    Actually, the Trilogy of the Rat is: Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball 1973, and A Wild Sheep Chase. Although Dance, Dance, Dance continues the story, it is not considered a Rat story.

  8. Jessica
    at 10:45 am on April 17, 2014

    The link isn’t working again. Anyone know where I can find a full-length PDF? The others I have found are only 74 pages and the work is supposed to be much longer than that.

Post a Response

Comments with unrelated links will be deleted. If you'd like to reach our readers, consider buying an advertisement instead.

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments that do not add to the conversation will be deleted at our discretion.

NEW COMMENTING RULE: Comments may be held for moderation and/or deleted. Whitelisted commenters will see their comments appear immediately. Don't be a jerk. We reserve the right to delete your comment or revoke commenting privileges for any reason we want.