If you haven’t read any of the surreal and engrossing works by Haruki Murakami, you should consider doing so. The Japanese author has become a cultural sensation in the west, and his work is often mentioned by critics and booklovers.
Murakami: A Fashionable Author?
Murakami is one of the most famous writers from Japan, and nearly all of his works have been translated into English. The great thing about his novels and short stories is that they are highly accessible for new fans of Japanese literature, as there are many similarities between Japanese and western literature.
The extensive works of the 74-year-old are popular because they spark discussion and can often be interpreted in a myriad of ways. More people than ever are reading books now, as shown by PIA. Thanks to the rise of eBooks and social media influencers like Jimmy Fallon, reading is more popular among young readers than in previous years.
Murakami is considered fashionable because his works span a range of genres and themes. His style is so unique that you can’t really compare it to other popular authors. However, if you like his fiction, there are other Japanese authors recommended by Tokyo Weekender that explore similar themes. Discussing Murakami’s books in a bookclub or on social media will allow you to delve further into other Japanese authors such as Banana Yoshimoto, Mieko Kawakami, and Sayaka Murata.
Murakami often deals with the concepts of existence and interactions between random characters. His work paints an intriguing picture of Japan and the daily dilemmas that people face; loneliness, masculinity and the magic within mundanity. Murakami’s work is often coupled with strange things happen that are not usually explained, adding a sharp, compelling contrast to his novels.
The striking thing about Murakami’s immersive storytelling is that characters go about mundane tasks such as cooking food and listening to music, but the reader is completely absorbed.
The Best Murakami Books for Beginners
For anyone wanting to get into Murakami, many of his fans would recommend starting with his short story collections. The best of these is The Elephant Vanishes, which was released in 1990. It has sold more than 250,000 copies in the USA and features memorable entries like ‘Barn Burning’ and ‘The Second Bakery Attack’.
The first novel that many readers will pick up is Norwegian Wood, which is Murakami’s most famous work. It was published in Japan in 1987 and has since sold more than four million copies around the world. It’s also one of the least surreal in the author’s catalogue and acts as a good introduction to his writing style. Readers who are more interested in detective noir could pick up A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance.
For readers in search of a Murakami offering at the opposite end of the surreal scale to Norwegian Wood, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is an excellent choice. The story flits between two completely different characters, seemingly existing in opposite worlds. The 1985 book is referred to as one of Murakami’s best by The Resting Willow.
Murakami is one of the most famous authors in the world, and you should consider reading his books. The great thing is that he has penned a lot of fiction, so there are plenty of options for hungry readers to get through.