January 19, 2005

"I am dreaming while I am awake." That's how Haruki Murakami describes the writing of his surreal fictions. Now out is his novel Kafka on the Shore, a fantastical Oedipal tale that was a bestseller in his native Japan, selling 460,000 copies in two months. Read an extract from the novel and check out John Updike's review in The New Yorker.

Also see Kafka reviews by The Guardian, The Observer, and The Complete Review (a negative one). Murakami has long been my favorite writer, and if you haven't read his work, try a few short stories -- Ice Man, The Folklore of Our Times, Honey Pie, Super-Frog Saves Tokyo -- to taste the strange yet alluring flavor of his fiction. Fans may also want to read these various Murakami interviews.

  • oh boy! oh boy! oh boy! This is exciting. I think Murakami is indeed one of the greatest authors alive today. Thanks astroboy.
  • I'm currently reading Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World. Its very good, so far. The only other book of his I've read is Underground, about the terrorist attacks on the Tokyo underground.
  • I've been a murakami fan for about 15 years now, and I can't wait to read this book.
  • I'd never even heard of him, and now I have someone new to read. Thanks!
  • Thanks for the post Astroboy, I only discovered Murakami last year, but I'm already a fan.
  • I've just bought the Wind Up Bird Chrionicle - it's my next to read. Looking forward to it - I've never read owt by him before...
  • Thanks for the short stories! I ended up looking at the computer for a good 20 minutes past 5 today because of them. I picked up a copy of Dance Dance Dance a few years ago, I think off the curb. It remains one of my favorite books -- looking forward to finding more!
  • I like Murakami-san very much, but often suspect that I am stopped from accessing the overwhelming complexities of his work in its Japanese. So I naively presume, anyways - I can neither speak nor read that infinite language. However, I don't suspect the same a when I read (say) Dante; perhaps because of the vast history of commentators, perhaps because English and Italian share some features in common. But, anyone who can better educate me about either "original" experience: please do!
  • stomper, you should get a copy of A Wild Sheep Chase... Dance Dance Dance is the sequel to that book. it adds a bit more sense to the Sheep Man episodes.
  • Just bought The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle yesterday, and am sitting down to start it over lunch today. I had quidnunc's question on the brain when I picked it up off the shelf. What very little I know of the language tells me that it would be a vastly different experience to read the original Japanese, much more so than quid's example of Dante. Still, I'm looking forward to reading it, even if it is filtered to fit our own linguistic conventions. Thanks for this thread.
  • Mate, tell me what you think when you get to the end. I loved the wind-up.
  • It shall be done.