Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Haruki Murakami

Author Haruki Murakami was born and raised in Japan, but is notably well versed in Russian and English literature as well as American culture.  Some of his favorite writers include Raymond Chandler, Kurt Vonnegut, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Campbell and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  He recently completed a meticulous translation into Japanese of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, a book which he describes as his "textbook" for how to write.

Murakami is known for having turned his back on his own country's formal literary tradition. Rather, he seeks the inner search or quest which he believes appeals to younger Japanese readers, "my books can offer them a sense of freedom - freedom from the real world." He also states, "That's the beginning of the story. We have rooms in ourselves. Most of them we have not visited yet...From time to time we can find the passage. We find strange things...old phonographs, pictures, books...they belong to us, but it is the first time we have found them." (Author's quotations from World Press Review, August 2001, vol. 48, no. 8.)

Visit the author's webpage to get a good sense of his aesthetics and interests.  In addition, here is a fact sheet elaborating on ten fascinating things you need to know about Haruki Murakami.