Of Reading Murakami

My first encounter with Murakami was when my best friend lent me his Dance, Dance, Dance—a metaphysical detective story about an unnamed protagonist and his search for the truth behind the disappearance of a woman she had loved, starting from a hotel where it all started. By reading Murakami for the first time, I can say that I’ve become a smarter reader because of his extraordinary ability to stir his readers’ intellect and imagination.

I was able to follow it up with another Murakami book, After Dark, the first book I had purchased from Fully Booked. The story revolves around modern night Tokyo and how the world’s loosely-woven reality comes apart at the seams when the dark falls. I found the book even eerier, but was still a lighter read compared to Dance, Dance, Dance, let alone it was shorter. I can still remember the way I used to read it in between calls just to finish it, and for my best friend to allow me to buy more of Murakami’s books.

And indeed, Norwegian Wood, still a Murakami masterpiece, followed. Here, Murakami was at his most normal state but the sudden shift from his usual style and tone didn’t disappoint me. The book may just be a plain love story to many people, but his deep understanding of the human psychology and sensitivity made the characters so real, and the story very emotionally affective. These characteristics were most evident with his tenth novel, Kafka on the Shore, a story about a 15-year-old boy escaping from an oedipal prophecy cast to him by his father.

After several reading attempts over the last five months, I had finished the book last May 3, 2011. I was supposed to write my first book review for Cosmic Glitch but the eventful fourth of May did not allow me to. However, the time that has elapsed gave me the opportunity to deeply ponder upon the story, which leads me to my next post.

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22 thoughts on “Of Reading Murakami

  1. i bought my first Murakami book, Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, about a couple of weeks ago. Ang weird ng writing style nya. After reading the first several pages, halos magsisi akong binili ko yung libro kasi hindi ko talaga maintindihan. i seek help online from those who found the book enjoyable, and now i’m looking forward to buying my second Murakami book (Norwegian Wood!) maybe this payday. 🙂

    here’s a quick ranting on my first impression of Blind Willow:
    http://odeeblah.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/haruki-murakami-traffic-and-bad-smell/

    looking forward to your review of his books!^_^

    • Murakami first-timers really tend to feel that way. That is why it is recommended to read his Norwegian Wood book first, so that you will gradually be used to his style and quirks. : ] I’m not going to write a Kafka on the Shore review, but it’s going to be connected to that book.

  2. i love murakami! i’ve read all of his novels, and a few of his short stories. i love south of the border, west of the sun more than i do norwegian wood but both are really good. can’t wait for the movie. 🙂

  3. dance dance dance was also my first murakami! i loved him for it. and so began my love affair with haruki. i continued with a wild sheep chase, blind willow, after dark and of course kafka on the shore (love!) . but then it all ended with wind-up bird chronicle aka the book i lugged around for 2 and a half years. i will never see wells the same way again.

    have yet to finish sputnik sweetheart. have you read that?

    • My best friend has a copy of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I tried reading it but I just couldn’t stand reading borrowed books. I’m looking forward to buying my own.

  4. Wow. A Murakami fan. I hope you get to read more of his works. You will definitely enjoy all of them. Good luck with your reading experience. Always read. It is a healthy habit.

  5. I just bought After Dark a week ago! But I have yet to read it. I’ve been reading a lot about Murakami in several blogs kasi eh. Nakikiuso lang lol 😉

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