Tuesday

Author Spotlight // Haruki Murakami

If you've followed my blog a while, you'll probably know I'm a big Haruki Murakami fan. Admittedly I haven't read all of his translated works yet but, having reviewed 11 books out of the 18 available, I think it's about time I wrote a round up.

Why do you love Murakami, Becky? 

I hate it when people ask me this because it's such a difficult question to answer! For one thing, I love the fusion of Eastern and Western culture. All of the stories are based in Japan but the protagonists nearly all listen to jazz and eat spaghetti. I love the way Murakami finds beauty in the mundane, such as the aforementioned spaghetti. Most of all, I love the way he manages to make the unbelievable seem believable. There's such surrealism and magic in his stories but it never feels like I'm reading fantasy or science fiction. Even the remarkable is written about as fact and I find something very special in that.

Where do I start?

For anyone who is interested in trying Murakami's books, I would recommend the following, in order. Click on the title for a link through to my review.

The Strange Library

This book is great for newcomers to Murakami because it's a very easy read but sums him up perfectly well! A boy pops into a library on his way home from school and suddenly finds himself drawn into a world that he never knew existed. A grown-up picture book, The Strange Library is a short read that will tell you instantly whether Murakami's literature is for you or not.

South of the Border, West of the Sun
Having said that, even if you don't enjoy The Strange Library, it's worth trying South of the Border, West of the Sun because there's none of the fantastical elements found in Murakami's other works. There's the odd coincidence but nothing stranger than that. This is my favourite Murakami book because I related to the characters so much. It's essentially a story about the monotony and predictability of life and there was something beautiful in that.

Norwegian Wood

This is another "straight" novel and it was this book that made Murakami the literary superstar he is today. It's a tragic but beautiful story and is a through-and-through love story, albeit one with a twist. This is Murakami, after all!

after the quake

It always kills me to write this title without capitals but that was Murakami's condition on getting it translated so, if I'm being loyal, I have to do it. after the quake is one of his short story collections so it's worth a read. Not one of my favourite books but definitely worth trying if you're a newcomer.

1Q84

This is a book I'd recommend to everyone but you have to have patience since it's over 1000 pages long! Technically, it's a trilogy but you can buy it as one whole book and that definitely gave me a sense of achievement! 1Q84 is Murakami at his surreal best. Despite its length, the entire story is gripping and I adored it. It's a commitment but well worth it!



Anything else?

I've missed some obvious choices out here such as The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, one of Murakami's most well-known texts. I read this a long time ago (about 6 years!), before I had this blog and, as such, I've never reviewed it. I'll be changing that before long though! There's also What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which is fascinating for learning more about Murakami as a person. 

Personally, I think everyone should read at least one Murakami book in their lifetime... but then I would, wouldn't I?

7 comments :

  1. Norweigan Wood's on my list! I'll definitely be taking your tips on his other reads too :)

    x

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  2. Ah this was such a cool post to read! I've only read After Dark as my Dad is a big Murakami fan but I really want to read Kafka on the Shore too. I just need to work my way through all of his books because I love the way he writes. - Tasha

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  3. I still haven't got around to reading any! I bought Norweigan Wood for my friend's birthday last year and still am dying to read myself! :)

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  4. Norwegian Wood was the first book I read of his (in the original red/green format) and is still one of my favourites of his.

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  5. I've seen a few bloggers give really good reviews of Murakami's books, but I've never got round to reading any. I'm so glad you put a list of 'where to start', because I was about to ask you that.
    I always think his covers are really nice as well. They're always so simple.

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  6. Ooh, thank you for writing this! I've seen his books dotted around bookshops for ages but I've never known what they're like. I'll definitely give one or two of them a try having read this :)
    Megan x
    London Callings

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  7. Haruki Murakami is my absolute favourite actor, I definitely think that everyone should read one of his books. My favourite is probably Kafka on the Shore. Beautiful story. xx
    eastofsiam.blogspot.com

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