Monday, November 06, 2006

Haruki Murakami

This was originally posted to rec.arts.sf.written 4/10/01, and I'll repost it here, unaltered. It was in response to someone (name now forgotten) who'd asked what Murakami's writing was like. I think you folks can figure out why I'm resurrecting it now...

I'm quite fond of his books (there's a new one coming out at the end of the month! yay!), but my sense is that I'm liking them with the half of my brain that likes Don DeLillo and Kazuo Ishiguro rather than the half that likes George R.R. Martin and Iain M. Banks.

That probably wasn't helpful...

A Wild Sheep Chase is generally considered to be his best book (and those who don't agree mostly like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World is, as I recall, an interesting but very odd novel, something like Kafka filtered through Mishima. I read it when it was published, about ten years ago (reading Wild Sheep Chase, his first novel to be translated into English, made me a huge fan), but haven't re-read it since, so my recollection of it is fuzzy.

Murakami writes in a quite readable style, but he tends to focus on little details and thoughts in a way that may seem slow or boring to someone who is reading looking for something else. I recall reading an interview with Murakami in which he said that he deliberately followed Raymond Chandler's style. It isn't a clear line by any means (Chandler to his Japanese translator to Murakami through his English translator), but there are glimpses of a Chandleresque tone. He doesn't do the quirky metaphors that Chandler's best known for,

In general, I'd say it's well worth reading, and you might possibly have found a new author to love. I hope you'll report back once you've read it.

No comments:

Post a Comment