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Top 5 Novels by Haruki Murakami

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by Emilia (subscribe)
Swedish environmentalist and freelance writer living in Perth.
Published May 29th 2012
I discovered Japanese author Haruki Murakami a couple of years ago when one of his novels were chosen as the next book on the menu in a book circle I belonged to. After that I was hooked.
Haruki Murakami

Reading a Murakami book, I find myself wanting that usually tremendously boring bus or train ride to go on forever - so I can just keep on reading. I go to bed at eight pm to read and wake up at six am to continue. It is a spell. You do not want to stop reading and in the same time you do not want the book to end.

What I find so interesting about Murakami is that he can actually write about people doing absolutely nothing, like a soul searching man sitting on the bottom of a well – and still make it intriguing reading.

Murakami has truly found his very own style of writing.You know when you are reading a Murakami book. Because of this some people might say that once you have read one Murakami novel you have read them all. And in one sense I would agree. The characters sometimes do seem to slightly resemble each other; particularly the female ones who in his earlier productions I tend to find disturbingly one dimensional.

Still, there is no escaping it. I love his novels. And so, with no further do, I present to you the Murakami top five! (Counting down from number 5 of course to make it more exciting.)

5. Norwegian Wood
A good friend of mine loves this book and even claims he is in love with the heroine. I am not quite as convinced. It is Murakamis early writing and I do find the characters kind of lacking some depth. But it is a sweet story, though maybe more for the teenage audience. (This novel has also been adapted into a feature film; I have not myself seen the film though, so can say nothing about it).

4. Sputnik Sweetheart
I can actually not completely recall the plot of this story - but I do remember that I liked it. As with Norwegian Wood, it belongs to Murakami's earlier work and is not a thick book - it's well suited for the Murakami beginner.

3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Okay, top three featuring Murakami's more recent work. Now we´re talking good literature!

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a thick book, which at first glance might make it a bit intimidating. But do give it a go. It is a fascinating story featuring that previously mentioned guy who spends his days contemplating on the bottom of a well. It is quirky, it is weird, and it is great.

2. 1Q84
This is Murakami's most recent work and it actually consists of no less than three novels. The two first were released in Japan in 2009 and the third in 2010. I got all of the three novels in one gigantic hard cover for my last birthday a little more than a month ago, and am currently about half way through (in the middle of the second book). I simply cannot stop reading. Murakami's writing has reached new heights in this novel and I can do nothing but recommend it to everyone.

1. Kafka on the Shore
It is very possible I like this Murakami book the most because it is the first one I read (yes, the one we read in the book circle). It is a truly intriguing story with fish raining from the sky and a man making a trumpet out of cat souls. What else do I need to say?

That´s it - now choose wisely and the head down to your local library or book store to pick up some Murakami joy. I will warn you though - it is quite possible to get a Murakami overdose, so don´t get all of the books at the same time. Read one, and then read something completely different (why not Alice Munroe, another favourite author of mine).

But I can assure you, after a while, you´ll get that classic Murakami craving and long to go back to his twisted worlds where you can never be quite sure about reality. But beware, once you go - there just might be no turning back.
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Your Comment
Great article! I've only read a couple of Murakami books so far but I enjoyed them. They're hauntingly beautiful. I enjoyed Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and South of the Border, West of the Sun.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1206) 3008 days ago
Great article. A fan of Murakami myself, I love the accounts of personal experiences of historical events he injects into his characters in a art-imitate-life way.
by Phoebe Pham (score: 1|13) 3095 days ago
haruki is crazy. but he is intellectual too. just now finished Kafka on the shore .
My experience is like this. imagine you have found a valuable pearl just near a heap of municipal trash. you are attracted to it and start searching inside the trash. Whenever u are tired and getting nothing but trash , and think of quitting it ,u get another pearl. though you know you are messing up with trash , and dont want to do it , your attraction towards that pearl is irresistable and u keep doing it.
Conclusion :i wont recommend Haruki to anyone and as for many that pearl may not be as valuable as to me and might think im crazy after reading his first book.BUT IM READY TO SEARCH MORE TRASHES OF HIM LOOKING FOR MORE PEARLS.
by arun (score: 0|2) 2974 days ago
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