Most authors don't write simultaneous futuristic thrillers and pastoral fantasies about people with slashed eyes. Most authors don't write about chains of events set off by a missing cat. Most authors don't write about 15 year-old Oedipuses.
Most authors are not Haruki Murakami.
Murakami's works include twelve novels, dozens of short stories, an autobiography, and a non-fiction book of essays and interviews exploring a terrorist attack on Tokyo's subways that occurred in 1995.
He achieved literary super-stardom in Japan with the publication of Norwegian Wood
, but opinion is very much divided among the Japanese literary community whether he is a genius or a purveyor of somewhat odd popular fiction. His fans say, why not both?Fiction:Novels:Short story collections:Non-Fiction:
- Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Murakami's fiction often concerns dreams, sex, violence, the inexplicable, loneliness, parallel worlds, jazz and cats.
His work in general and Murakami himself provide examples of:
- Amnesiac Lover: The narrator imagines that he and his dream girl are actually both examples of this in "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning".
- Author Appeal:
- Murakami seems bizarrely fixated on ears, for some reason.
- He's also a huge jazz fan. In a 2007 essay for the New York Times Book Review, he discussed his his prior career as a jazz club proprietor in Tokyo, and the influence and inspiration that his writing has drawn from jazz music.
- He also loves reading—basically all of his main characters are avid readers.
- Wells and cats also appear in much of his work.
- He also loves whisky—a collection of whiskies reduced to pieces and spilled liquid is his idea of nightmare fuel. And an antagonist is named after a well-known scottish brand.
- Bad Ass Bookworm: The author himself, who is a triathlete and marathon runner (which is the main subject of his memoir).
- Dream Sequence: In almost every book.
- Erotic Dream
- Food Porn
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Just about every protagonist, thanks to Author Appeal.
- Literary Allusion Title: Pinball, 1973's title is an allusion to Kenzaburo Oe's The Silent Cry (Japanese title Football, Man'en 1note ).
- Love Hurts
- Magical Realism: And how!
- Mind Screw: In almost every single book. The notable exception to this is Norwegian Wood, which was his attempt to write a book very much unlike his usual work.
- Nameless Narrative: A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
- No Ending: Some of his stories, most infamously Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
- No Export for You: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 have never been published outside of Japan (with the odd exception of Thailand), as Murakami is not anxious for a wider audience to find his earliest work. Translations into English have been published for students of English in Japan, and can be found here and there on the internet.
- Old Shame: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973.
- Trilogy Creep: Dance Dance Dance to the "Trilogy of the Rat".
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?