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Creator / Haruki Murakami

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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.
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Most authors are not Haruki Murakami (born January 12, 1949).

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:

  • The Elephant Vanishes
  • after the quake
  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
  • Let’s Meet in a Dream (in collaboration with Shigesato Itoi)
  • Men Without Women

Non-Fiction:

  • Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • On Music

Murakami’s fiction often concerns dreams, sex, violence, the inexplicable, loneliness, parallel worlds, jazz and cats.


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Murakami and his works provide examples of the following:

  • 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, named Peter Cat, and the influence and inspiration that his writing has drawn from jazz music.
    • He also loves reading—basically, all of his protagonists are avid readers.
    • Wells and cats also appear in much of his work.
    • Adolescent or pubescent girls, often troubled and/or with difficult lives, tend to appear in his books. They usually strike a bond with the protagonist, who becomes a sort of protector.
    • 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.
    • Many characters in his series are concepts given physical form. Such as Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders.
    • Suicide shows up a lot in his works, particularly in Norwegian Wood and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
  • Bad Ass Bookworm: Murakami himself, who is a triathlete and marathon runner (which is the main subject of his memoir).
  • Cats Are Magic: Pops up frequently, especially in Kafka on the Shore.
  • First Installment Wins: Discussed in What I write when talking about writing, in which he considers Ernest Hemingway first two books,The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms alongside Nick Adams stories to be the best stories of the man. He remarks these tales have an energy to them that takes his breath away, but later stories lack the impact of the first.
  • Food Porn: His books often have detailed descriptions of what the protagonist is cooking or eating.
  • Genre Adultery: In contrast to his other, more experimental and postmodern novels, Norwegian Wood is a fairly straightforward coming-of-age/love story.

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