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Haruki Murakami (1 Viewer)

cinder and smoke

Senior Member
Did a search and I was surprised to see that there weren't many threads devoted to this guy.

I love him. I've read a good portion of his books and his ability to create this very strange, surrealistic Japan mesmerizes me. It's quite a trip to get through his novels. Reminds me of hypothetical adventures with LSD.

My main problem with Murakami is that essentially all his novels tend to have the main character painfully similar. I also have an issue with the fact that some parts of the stories are so trippy that they just feel way too jumbled up and unpolished.

But maybe that's the point?

Regardless, I certainly don't regret spending the money I have to get his books. I eat them up like candy.

Thoughts?
 

Lote-Tree

Senior Member
Did a search and I was surprised to see that there weren't many threads devoted to this guy.

I love him. I've read a good portion of his books and his ability to create this very strange, surrealistic Japan mesmerizes me. It's quite a trip to get through his novels. Reminds me of hypothetical adventures with LSD.

My main problem with Murakami is that essentially all his novels tend to have the main character painfully similar. I also have an issue with the fact that some parts of the stories are so trippy that they just feel way too jumbled up and unpolished.

But maybe that's the point?

Regardless, I certainly don't regret spending the money I have to get his books. I eat them up like candy.

Thoughts?

I have become fond of him after reading (at the spur of the moment) "Sputnik Sweetheart" and "South of the Border, West of the Sun"... :D

He writes about isolation, identity, unrequited love etc in such a simplistic fashion without being sentimental...
 

cinder and smoke

Senior Member
Sputnik Sweetheart is definitely a softer piece of his work. It is similar in a lot of ways to Norwegian Wood, also by Murakami.

You gotta try his surreal stuff like Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Kafka on the Shore, and Dance Dance Dance.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is absolutely brilliant but a bit less trippy. It's good. Read it.

(in sputnik, i love the character sumire. just love her.)
 

Lote-Tree

Senior Member
Sputnik Sweetheart is definitely a softer piece of his work. It is similar in a lot of ways to Norwegian Wood, also by Murakami.

You gotta try his surreal stuff like Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Kafka on the Shore, and Dance Dance Dance.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is absolutely brilliant but a bit less trippy. It's good. Read it.

(in sputnik, i love the character sumire. just love her.)


I have all those titles but have not read them yet...I am currently reading his short stories "blind willow, sleeping women"...there some good stuff there...the imagery sticks to your mind so easily...
 

Mike C

WF Veterans
My main problem with Murakami is that essentially all his novels tend to have the main character painfully similar.

You could take the view that he's essentially exploring the same themes over and over, refining as he goes, uncovering a little more truth with every new work.

It's something Ballard does also. One could argue that he's essentially been writing the same book over and over for 20 years, laying bare a little more of the human condition in each.

PS If you like Murakami, read Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto; you'll love it.
 
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Buddy Glass

Senior Member
I liked his recent short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman a lot. But I'm a little iffy when it comes to Murakami. Norwegian Wood was superb, as was after the quake, but reading some of his other works (i.e. Sputnik Sweetheart) I find his prose to be somewhat embarassing, at times.
 

VigorousMastication

Senior Member
I liked his recent short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman a lot. But I'm a little iffy when it comes to Murakami. Norwegian Wood was superb, as was after the quake, but reading some of his other works (i.e. Sputnik Sweetheart) I find his prose to be somewhat embarassing, at times.

Well, his works are translated, and I imagine that there's probably quite a bit lost between languages. What we find to be tired, soppy prose, probably works a bit better in Japanese. That being said, I enjoyed Sputnik Sweethearts, but I never really found the time to finish Kafka on the Shore. I've still got it, and I'll get round to it eventually.
 

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Well, his works are translated, and I imagine that there's probably quite a bit lost between languages. What we find to be tired, soppy prose, probably works a bit better in Japanese. That being said, I enjoyed Sputnik Sweethearts, but I never really found the time to finish Kafka on the Shore. I've still got it, and I'll get round to it eventually.

I agree on the translation thing. I'd love to read him in Japanese, but I doubt I'll ever get around to that.
 
I liked his recent short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman a lot. But I'm a little iffy when it comes to Murakami. Norwegian Wood was superb, as was after the quake, but reading some of his other works (i.e. Sputnik Sweetheart) I find his prose to be somewhat embarassing, at times.

I usually feel similarly toward Murakami. But when all is said and done, although he may not be the greatest living writer, he is certainly original and enjoyable. Reading a short story like "Honey Pie" is an experience. I love it.
 
B

Barraque

I read Kafka on the Shore and LOVED IT. But I found the ending slightly disappointing

I just started reading one, but I don't remember the title. Something about sheep?

Anyway, only a chapter in, but I'm sure I'll like it

I love his really weird, unpredictable 'surreal' style. Very interesting stuff
 

ClancyBoy

Senior Member
I hate to be the only one to disagree here. I've read a lot of Murakami and I find him to be dull as dry pavement.

The style is a little similar to Kawabata Yasunari, in that the main character is always this self-involved loner. But while Kawabata creates incredibly beautiful images, Murakami seems to just like to be weird just for the sake of being weird.
No real theme, no plot to speak of, just a bunch of lazy flashbacks and conversations capped by something really strange at the end. The end of A Wild Sheep Chase is just a big WTF that has nothing to do with anything that came before.

Or maybe it was another one. To be honest I couldn't tell you. I've read four books by him and I honestly couldn't tell you what any of them are about or which is which.
 
I hate to be the only one to disagree here. I've read a lot of Murakami and I find him to be dull as dry pavement.

The style is a little similar to Kawabata Yasunari, in that the main character is always this self-involved loner. But while Kawabata creates incredibly beautiful images, Murakami seems to just like to be weird just for the sake of being weird.
No real theme, no plot to speak of, just a bunch of lazy flashbacks and conversations capped by something really strange at the end. The end of A Wild Sheep Chase is just a big WTF that has nothing to do with anything that came before.

Or maybe it was another one. To be honest I couldn't tell you. I've read four books by him and I honestly couldn't tell you what any of them are about or which is which.

I'm not too fond of his weird stuff either. I like him better when he writes something like Norwegian Wood, or that wonderful short story "Honey Pie". He's more in his element when writing those nostalgic and more straightforward stories.
 

ClancyBoy

Senior Member
I'm not too fond of his weird stuff either. I like him better when he writes something like Norwegian Wood, or that wonderful short story "Honey Pie". He's more in his element when writing those nostalgic and more straightforward stories.

I read Norwegian Wood twice. I can't remember anything about it except for the part where he's sitting on the airplane thinking about the Beatles song.

I didn't know the "wood" in Norwegian Wood referred to a forest until I read the Japanese version. For years I thought it meant lumber imported from Norway.
 

cinder and smoke

Senior Member
^ Norwegian Wood is also a Beatles song. Murakami has a habit of always making allusions to pop culture. Sometimes it gets annoying because I would prefer to read about Japanese culture. Perhaps the translators do that to make it more "approachable"?

And yeah, you're right about the wood/forest part in Japanese--mori.

Nihonjin desu ka? I'm not but I did a bit of self-studying with Japanese so I can understand the language on a basic level. As for reading, I know know hiragana with like, two kanji :p

Yeah sorry. Totally off topic.
 

VigorousMastication

Senior Member
ClancyBoy wa Nihon go hanase masu ka?

I'm living in Osaka at the moment, but my Japanese is pretty damn basic. Everything I know, I've picked up over here, or learned from streetfighter ;). That sentence for example; I understand you're saying that you aren't Japanese, but I'm not sure what the second part says. You lived in Japan? zzz... sorry, I'm a bit drunk at the moment; went out to karaoke. Anyways, I can read most katakana, although it takes me a while to figure out what it's saying; no spaces or grammar is a pain in the arse. And I can count pretty well. Managed to figure the system out pretty easily, although I still have trouble when people quote prices too quickly for my ears :). Thinking of studying it properly when I get back to Australia.
 

cinder and smoke

Senior Member
I read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World and was thoroughly disappointed.

That is DEFINITELY not a good example of Murakami's work. I can't stand that one. Try Norwegian Wood..it's rather good and it seems a lot of the people here agree.

--------

Clancy: Aaa, sou da na. Demo..nani "tsutometeru"? Wakaranai. Atashi no nihongo wa ii desu ne!! Tadashii kuchiokashi. Atashi wa okashii ne :p


I kid lol. I hope I got my point across because I'm sure not all of that was correct.
 
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