So many times simple blocks of texts can effortlessly evoke such strong, stirring emotions that it almost surprises you. This is the gravity of words when used effectively. For me, that is storytelling in its rawest and most original form. Globally acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami has aced the magical realist fiction genre without contention. It is almost impossible for anyone to have read a Murakami novel without being left bemused about his writing and approach.
He has repeatedly employed loss as the key feature in discovering and analyzing the nakedness of human identity. His protagonists are often shown grappling between life as desired and life as a reality. While his books are set up against the Japanese culture, Murakami’s work isn’t ethnically driven but rather questions the moralistic functionality of all humanity. Through his approach, he makes his readers wonder about the self, emotions, grief, joy, pain, societal expectations and existence itself.
Murakami showcases the fearless, boundless power of writing in his book. His work has impacted me as a person, as a reader as well as a writer. What good is a book if it can’t evoke emotions or wonder! Here are three Murakami book suggestions for every reader out there that will lead you to delve deeper into the sense of identity.
My first Murakami book, which initially put me in a confused spot not able to decide if I liked what I read or I didn’t. In my opinion, it is the least magical of all his writings and closest to relatable reality unlike his other books. Murakami narrates the story of a mid-aged man who slips into the memories of his youth imbued with passion, romance and carnal relationships on hearing a Beatle track playing at an airport. This is, essentially, a story about a young man’s heart-rending relationship with a girl who becomes emotionally unstable after losing her longtime lover. Indeed, this is a beautiful amalgamation of love, loss, pain, grief and solitude.
Men Without Women
The latest from Murakami’s den is this collection of unparalleled storytelling that victoriously dives into the lives of seven men in constant strife with relationships, circumstances and life. The astonishing part of these stories is how comfortably he portrays these men as deplorable beings who effortlessly fail the women they love, recognize their own failures and act exactingly towards themselves. A journey of these men wandering amidst inevitable midlife crisis and impermanence and confinements of life.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Murakami and the OTHER world. This book too features an other world. In this book, he creates a convoluted, tortuous, maze-like hotel where the male protagonist’s wife is held hostage by her vile brother. Murakami, intentionally or unintentionally, gives unheroic attributes to the hero almost making the readers lose complete faith in the hero. Okada Tōru, a complaisant, stay-at-home husband, is expected to find his way to his wife through this abstract web and put up a fight to free his wife, Kumiko. This is a reading of ferocity, viciousness, sex, recollections and memory loss.
If you’re a Murakami virgin, good luck to you. His writing takes a while to sink in and once it does, you will take a while to get over it. But, it is all WORTH it.