Haruki Murakami biography

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Haruki Murakami
Photo: Elena Seibert

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami Biography

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and then moved to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University. After college, Murakami opened a small jazz bar, which he and his wife ran for seven years.

His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. He followed this success with two sequels, Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, which all together form "The Trilogy of the Rat."

Additionally, Murakami has written several works of nonfiction. After the Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, he interviewed surviving victims, as well as members of the religious cult responsible. From these interviews, he published two nonfiction books in Japan, which were selectively combined to form Underground. He also wrote a series of personal essays on running, entitled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

The most recent of his many international literary honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul. Murakami's work has been translated into more than fifty languages.

Haruki Murakami's website

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Interview

Haruki Murakami shares his views on myths, symbolism and post modernism, explains why cats and music make appearances in many of his books, and why he describes writing a novel as being in a dreamlike state.

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 way; otherwise it would have been ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Haruki Murakami at BookBrowse
First Person Singular jacket Killing Commendatore jacket Men Without Women jacket Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Haruki Murakami but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Hiromi  Kawakami

    Hiromi Kawakami

    Hiromi Kawakami was born in Tokyo in 1958. Her first novel, Kamisama (God), was published in 1994. In 1996, she was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for Hebi o Fumu (Tread on a Snake) and in 2001 she won the Tanizaki Prize for her... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    First Person Singular

    Try:
    People from My Neighborhood
    by Hiromi Kawakami

  • Megan Angelo

    Megan Angelo

    Megan Angelo grew up in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and graduated from Villanova University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Glamour and Elle, among other publications. She lives in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    1Q84

    Try:
    Followers
    by Megan Angelo

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