|Haruki Murakami January 12, 1949|
Jubilant January wouldn't be the same without Haruki Murakami. He's a fan favorite with 52 Books and has become our traditional first readalong of the year. I was introduced to his writing with 1Q84 and as Murakami said, it is a mind bending ode to George Orwell's 1984.
Synopsis: Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.
Murakami's imaginative writing sucks you into his stories and won't let you go until the end. After delving in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, then Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, I admit his stories can be a bit strange. However he gives readers plenty to think about regarding the the conscious and the unconscious mind.
This year we'll be diving into Norwegian Wood, the book that propelled Murakami into the international spotlight.
Synopsis: Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman. A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.
And should you decide Norwegian Wood isn't right for you, dive into another one of his fiction novels, explore his short stories or his non fiction essays. A new book is being released in February in Japan, however the title and story synopsis hasn't been released yet.
Want to find out more about Murakami - Check out his website, follow him on facebook, peak into his interviews in Japan Times on music, jazz and the brain, and danish award.
Happy Birthday, Haruki Murakami!!!!
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