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Thread: Haruki Murakami

  1. #1
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    Haruki Murakami

    Has anyone read any of Haruki Murakami's books? I'm thisclose to finishing "Kafka on the Beach," which I think is his newest. It's really strange, with people who talk to cats, but totally engrossing & great & subtly funny. Very philosophical, which I normally don't like, and it has so much information. Like just tons of facts, & it talks about a million different Japanese books. I must admit I skim boring paragraphs sometimes, 'cause it's maybe a bit too dense! So just wondering if anyone has read anything by him, & what you thought. I also have "Norwegian Wood," so that's next on my list, & a friend of mine adored "The Windup Bird Chronicals."

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    I've been wanting to read The Windup Bird Chronicles, but I might NEVER get around to it, at least not when I think I will. I'll just let F-A-T-E deal with my book-reading, especially for weirder books that are harder to get through.

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    I read Wild Sheep Chase a couple of years ago, and I really liked it. I read it for a class, though, so all I can really remember about it is our discussion about the importance of names, and what makes it a postmodern work.

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    I really like Murakami, though don't read too many of his books in a row (they all seem the same after awhile). I really really liked Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and I enjoyed but didn't fall in love with Windup Bird Chronicles.

  6. #5
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    I have a crush on Haruki Murakami! I've read Wind Up Bird Chronicles, Norwegian Wood, and the one about the Japanese sarin gas attacks/Aum Shinrikyo cult.

  7. #6
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    I loved Kafka on the Shore and vowed to read more by Murakami, but as yet I have not. Will probably have to ask library to order it from elsewhere.

  8. #7
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    i think i've read everything that's been translated into english to date, and i think i'd rank them like this (from most to least favorite):

    - the wind-up bird chronicle
    - dance dance dance
    - a wild sheep chase
    - after the quake (short stories loosely grouped around the kobe earthquake)
    - the elephant vanishes (also short stories)
    - hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world
    - kafka on the shore
    - underground (the sarin attacks non-fiction book)
    - south of the border, west of the sun
    - norwegian wood
    - sputnik sweetheart

    agreed, craftytricks, they can definitely start running together after a while. sometimes this is thematically necessary - like in "sheep chase" and "dance dance dance," where a single story is sorta-continued - but some (my least favorites in particular) have a bad habit of seeming like riffs on murakami's favorite things - jazz, whiskey, mysterious women, mysterious sex with mysterious women, cats with weird noun-names (especially fish-related). some people favor "hard-boiled wonderland" because it's arguably the most singular of his novels, but i found the alternating chapters (it's two stories that ooze together as they progress) kind of annoying.

    for me, reading murakami is kinda like reading jane austen. even when the action is silly or predictable, i'm so comfortable with the world i'm entering that i'm willing to forgive a lack of spontanaety. when i pick up one of his novels, i'm pretty much out of commission until i'm done. he's got a style that's truly a pleasure to read.

  9. #8
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    i've read norwegian wood and wind-up bird chronicles...

    Norwegian wood I loved - I can't really remember why, I think it was the descriptions of little things like food and that book shop where the girl lived (? read it a long time ago...). I have really vivid images of some of the scenes and the narrative voice really resonated with me. A friend said she felt slightly violated reading it though, because of some of the graphicness... (? i don't remember that so much...)

    Wind-up bird chronicles slightly disappointed me, in that I wanted them to link up a little bit more, but I really enjoyed reading them. I like the way you'd think the story was going to go somewhere but then it would just stop and be, and you'd realise it was more perfect for not seeming like a 'real' story (if that makes any sense).

    I love how there is absurdness right next to and within these beautifully detailed mundanities.

    I imagine too many together might get trying though, like craftytricks said. I found myself writing and thinking in a similar prose style whilst i was reading wind-up bird. It's quite distinctive.

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    I just finished reading "Norwegian Wood." It was quite good, although I thought it was really different than "Kafka on the Beach." Actually, they had a little note in the back, saying that a lot of Japanese readers had been really disappointed by it, because they thought it was more like a traditional Japanese love story, and not what the expected from him. I thought the characters were quite similar in many ways, but there wasn't as much wacky supernatural-type stuff happening, and not as much deep philosophical rambling. But I thought it was great, and very absorbing! I finished it in 2 days! I'm not sure which I like best, though... I'm dying to read "The Windup Bird Chronicals" after all I've heard about it... but maybe I'll wait awhile, because I don't want them to get repetitive!

  11. #10
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    I read South of the Border West of the Sun maybe a year ago. It is the only one I have read. It started slowly, but I loved it. I agree with the "feeling comfortable" sentiment.


 
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