Haruki Murakami

Artist: Jennifer Sharmila (See more on Behance)

Discovering Murakami

“And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be.”

Life changed the moment I decided to read a Murakami novel. I was working at a bookstore that encouraged staff to further their reading repertoire and eagerly lent them books off the shelves on condition that it came back in pristine condition. I would often walk up and down the bookstore aisle in search of my new friend (as I consider a book to be) for the next evening or two (because books are meant to be devoured quickly and deeply). I had passed by Murakami’s novels a number of times never thinking to pick one up: mistake number one of my life. Or perhaps, no mistake at all. You see, Haruki Murakami’s work will come to you at precisely the right time in your life. It will wait till your soul is open to its dark and mystical touch, and it will alter you forever. The title of the book was ‘After Dark’ and it left me with a palpable yearning like few authors have ever done in my life. This consequently lead me to ‘Kafka on the Shore’ that irrevocably caused a shift in me; I felt like I was reading things found embedded in my subconscious that only ever surfaced in dreams. If writing was a type of catharsis for the writer, reading Murakami was a sort of exorcism of self. When I read his words I am taken back into a past, that feels like my own and someone else’s at the same time. His work has been described as Postmodern, but I think it is pure realism. Because what is life, but not a fusion of the surreal…a sea of dreams, love, sex and pain. Kafkaesque loneliness runs through his writing, as does his love for classical music, cats, coffee and books. I am at a loss to find any fault in his works just as I am at a loss to truly explain anything he writes. It is art after all and always open to personal interpretations. So I challenge the world to make of his fiction and non-fiction what they will. I recommend ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and ‘The Elephant Vanishes’ as an introduction if you are still a Murakami virgin; and I take no responsibility for the hauntings that will surely pervade your life.

Read more about this author in The New York Times Magazine (The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami by Sam Anderson, 2011)


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