Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author.
I was in a round of Knowledge Bowl. High school. The teacher said, “none of you are going to know this.” I along with everyone else told him to ask the question anyway. He asked for the name of the author of 1Q84. I told him it was Haruki Murakami. He was pleasantly surprised.
The first time I was introduced to Murakami was by this wonderful lesbian I had in my French. I would never say that we were friends. She wasn't the kind of person who had friends. She had lovers. I don't know if I would say we were even particularly close, but I don't know if she's knows the kind of impact she's had on my life.
She was unapologetic about her sexual orientation. It was empowering. It's how I try to be now. She introduced me to Lana Del Rey and Murakami. She's a goddess. I hope she's doing well wherever she is.
This girl was always in a book and day I asked her what she was reading in class one day. It was 1Q84 and she told me Murakami was one of her favorite authors.
I didn't end up reading it until that summer. That's when I did all my reading and I stumbled upon it in the library and I picked it up. I read it in three days. If you've ever seen 1Q84 you should know that's an accomplishment.
This novel is a tome. It was published as three separate books in Japan before it was finally published as one volume there and in the United States. It's an intense read and all these years later not the novel I would start a beginner in Murakami on. This is a novel you need to carve out time for. Someone asked me what was this book about and I told them what wasn't it about.
I love 1Q84. I love the titles deliberate riff on George Orwell's classic. I love the book. I've been told by some that they found the ending disappointing. I don't agree. Murakami is the kind of author that book club's can read. He's a superstar in Japan. Much like E.L. James or J.K. Rowling is in America.
This summer I finally picked up another few books after Madonna: An Intimate Biography, China Rich Girlfriend, and Kim Kardashian's Selfish. I love Murakami and I said I need to read more. I read Norwegian Wood and I'm honestly so conflicted.
It was a good read. I must admit. It took me a little under a week. I must say that seventy page chapter was unnecessary. This is not a book I would start someone on. I do love everything Murakami does, but I wouldn't consider this his best. I did enjoy the titles reference to The Beatles. That's something Murakami is always doing. Tying his novels to music. Classical music most often.
Definitely make time to read Norwegian Wood if you want. I would never stop you. Murakami never falls flat, but it is not my favorite.
It's entitled the Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I don't want to give much away, but it's certainly one of my favorites reads in a long time. There's actually a lot of similarities to the male leads in both Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and Norwegian Wood. Something I might not have noticed if I hadn't read them both back to back.
Both leads are just kind of apathetic if likeable. The one thing I must warm you about is the sex scenes. Murakami is very direct. This is PG-13 material, but he doesn't hold back either.
What I love about my friend group is that I actually have people who will let me talk about Murakami with them. That's when you know you've picked the right friends. The kind of people who read Murakami in their off time are the kind of people you want to know.
Unless you live in Japan, because there's not a person who doesn't read their Murakami or at the very least go to their nearest retailer and pick themselves up a hardcover copy.