born in Kyoto in 1949 and
graduated from the Waseda
University, Tokyo, in 1975. He
and his wife lived in Europe and
the United States from 1986 to
1995 before returning to Tokyo.
He did not write his first
novel, Hear the Wind Sing
(1979, translated 1987) until he
was in his thirties. His major
breakthrough came in 1987 with
the publication of Norwegian
Wood - a coming of age story
named after the Beatles' song,
which is somewhat different to
his other books in that it is
written in a realistic style,
whereas his other books all have
strong fantasy elements.
In addition to writing his own books in Japanese, Murakami is a skillful translator of English works into Japanese, including books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, John Irving and Paul Theroux.
This biography was last updated on 01/20/2011.
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An Interview with Haruki Murakami
What made you want to retell the Oedipus myth? Did you have a
plan to do this when you started Kafka On The Shore or did it come about
during the writing?
The Oedipus myth is just one of several motifs and isn't necessarily the central element in the novel. From the start I planned to write about about a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from his sinister father and sets off on a journey in search of his mother. This naturally linked up with the Oedipus myth. But as I recall, I didn't have that myth in mind at the beginning. Myths are the prototype for all stories. When we write a story on our own it can't help but link up with all sorts of myths. Myths are like a reservoir containing every story there is.
With the exception of Norwegian Wood, your novels, especially this new one, have a very dreamlike fantasy element to them. What is it that drives you into this realm?
Norwegian Wood is, as you've said, the only one written in a realistic style. I did this intentionally, of course. I wanted to prove to myself that I could write a 100% realistic novel. And I think this experiment proved helpful later on. I gained the confidence I could write this ...
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