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Haruki Murakami

By

Haruki Murakami
© Marion Ettlinger

Haruki Murakami - Birth:

Haruki Murakami was born January 12, 1949 in Kyoto, Japan.

Haruki Murakami - Biography and Writing:

The son of two teachers of Japanese literature, Murakami grew up in Kobe, Japan, reading Western authors and listening to Western music. He attended Waseda University in Tokyo, where he studied theater and worked at a record shop. Before he graduated, he had opened a coffeehouse/jazz bar in Tokyo with his wife, Yoko, which they ran for seven years, from 1974 to 1981.

In What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami recalls the exact moment in the Spring of 1978 when, lying on the grass at a Yakult Swallows baseball game in Jingu Stadium, it occurred to him for the first time to write a novel.
By Autumn, Murakami had written a 200-page novel entitled Hear the Wind Sing, which he entered into a new writers contest at a literary magazine. He won the contest, and his novel was published. He followed in 1980 with a second novel, entitled Pinball, 1973. Both novels were nominated for the Akutagawa Prize, and with this initial writing success, Murakami sold his club and devoted himself full-time to writing novels. In 1982, he published A Wild Sheep Chase, the third novel in his "Trilogy of the Rat."
In 1987 Murakami published Norwegian Wood, a bestseller in Japan. In 1995 he wrote the Yomiuri Prize-winning novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Kafka on the Shore (2006) won Murakami the Czech Republic's Franz Kafka Prize.

In 2011, Murakami released the English translation of 1Q84 (One Q Eighty-Four or ichi-kew-hachi-yon), a 1,000 page epic work of magical realism that was originally published in three separate volumes to accolades in Japan.
Murakami is known for his blending of the fantastic realism in his novels, and it's this magical realism, in combination with his flowing use of language, that gives his novels an ethereal, dreamlike quality.

Murakami is also a devoted marathon runner, and he writes about both writing and running in his 2008 work of nonfiction, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Newcomers to his Murakami's fiction may want to start with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Murakami's the most surreal of Murakami's novels and widely regarded as his best.

Haruki Murakami - Recommended Reading:

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