Haruki Murakami biography

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Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami Biography

Murakami was 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.

Partial Bibliography

Novels

  • The Trilogy of the Rat: Hear the Wind Sing (1979), Pinball, 1973 (1980), A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)
  • The Hard-boiled Wonderland and End of the World, 1985
  • Norwegian Wood, 1987
  • Dance, Dance, Dance (1993)
  • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1994)
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun (1999)
  • Sputnik Sweetheart (1999)
  • Kafka on the Shore (2002)
  • After Dark (2004 - English translation by Jay Rubin 2006)

Non Fiction

  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - memoir (2008)
  • Underground (2000)

Collections

  • The Elephant Vanishes (1993)
  • After the Quake (2002)
  • Vintage Murakami (2004)
  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (2006)

Link to Haruki's website

This biography was last updated on 01/18/2012.

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Interview

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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Books by this Author

Books by Haruki Murakami at BookBrowse
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage jacket 1Q84 jacket What I Talk About When I Talk About Running jacket After Dark 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.
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  • Muriel Barbery

    Muriel Barbery

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog is Muriel Barbery's second novel. It has sold over 1.2 million copies in its native France and spent almost two years on the bestseller lists. It has enjoyed similar success in Italy, Spain, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Kafka on The Shore

    Try:
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog
    by Muriel Barbery

  • Kevin Brockmeier

    Kevin Brockmeier

    In addition to his most recent work, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia; the story collections... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    1Q84

    Try:
    The Illumination
    by Kevin Brockmeier

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