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A Simpler, More Physical Kind of Empathy

Lorna Sage: Haruki Murakami, 30 September 1999

South of the Border, West of the Sun 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill, 187 pp., £9.99, July 1999, 1 86046 594 3
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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.
Harvill, 609 pp., £12, May 1998, 9781860464706
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... to Jay McInerney in 1992, the year South of the Border, West of the Sun was published in Japanese, Haruki Murakami said that he wasn’t so much an international writer, as a non-national writer: ‘You might call it the Japanese nature that remains only after you have thrown out, one after another, all those parts that are altogether too ...

Reality B

Christopher Tayler: Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84’, 15 December 2011

1Q84: Book 1 and Book 2 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.
Harvill Secker, 623 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 1 84655 407 0
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1Q84: Book 3 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill Secker, 364 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 1 84655 405 6
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... You know,’ a teenage girl says to Toru Okada, the narrator of Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, whom she’s found at the bottom of a dried-up well doing some thinking about his missing wife and cat, ‘you’re pretty weird.’ Later she refines the idea: ‘I mean, you’re such a supernormal guy, but you do such unnormal things ...

Man without a Fridge

Thomas Jones: Haruki Murakami, 17 April 2003

After the Quake 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.
Vintage, 132 pp., £6.99, March 2003, 1 84343 015 0
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Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don’t Know) about Earthquakes 
by Susan Elizabeth Hough.
Princeton, 238 pp., £17.95, May 2002, 0 691 05010 4
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... and three hundred thousand were made homeless. At least £100 billion of damage was caused. Haruki Murakami, Japan’s most popular living novelist, whose parents’ house was destroyed in the earthquake, wasn’t in the city. He had left the country in the late 1980s, uncomfortable with the fame that accompanied the huge success of Norwegian Wood ...

Lonely Metal Souls

Theo Tait: Haruki Murakami, 18 October 2001

Sputnik Sweetheart 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill, 229 pp., £12, May 2001, 9781860468254
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... Haruki Murakami’s translator, Philip Gabriel, describes him as a ‘one-man revolution in Japanese fictional style’. His early novels and short stories of the 1980s – playful, wry, experimental, saturated in references to Western culture – made him the spiritual cheerleader of a new generation of writers ...


Julian Loose, 30 January 1992

The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 241 13144 8
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... Derrida would be at a loss, for nothing remains to deconstruct. Certainly the fiction of Haruki Murakami, Japan’s most popular novelist by far, is awash with offbeat whimsy and state-of-the-art pastiche. A Wild Sheep Chase (published here in 1990) borrows the form of a Chandleresque detective story for the tale of a hunt for a mutant ...

What did Aum Shinrikyo have in mind?

Ian Hacking: Sarin in the Subway, 19 October 2000

Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum.
Harvill, 309 pp., £20, June 2000, 1 86046 757 1
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... in the crowd. What would make sense if your Tube stop was the subject of a sarin gas attack? Haruki Murakami thinks the events in the Tokyo Underground of 20 March 1995 can teach us something about the Japanese psyche. I am not convinced: any more than I would be if someone told me that the rescue of the man who failed to mind the gap said something ...

No Such Thing as Women

Madeleine Schwartz: Reproduction Anxiety, 23 September 2021

by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd.
Picador, 176 pp., £14.99, June, 978 1 5098 9824 4
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... Kawakami is a thoughtful feminist voice in contemporary Japanese literature. (She once took Haruki Murakami to task for his ‘female characters who exist solely to fulfil a sexual function’.) But her proper interest, in these two books, is in the reality of the body; there’s no financial redistribution or piece of law that will make Natsu’s ...

Number One Passport

Julian Loose, 22 October 1992

Rising Sun 
by Michael Crichton.
Century, 364 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7126 5320 1
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Off Centre: Power and Culture Relations between Japan and the United States 
by Masao Miyoshi.
Harvard, 289 pp., £22.95, December 1992, 0 674 63175 7
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Underground in Japan 
by Rey Ventura.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.99, April 1992, 0 224 03550 9
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... Lawrence shows him to be ‘inescapably encased in the Eurocentric frame of mind’; the novelist Haruki Murakami, who is as guilty as Mishima of exhibiting an exotic, export-oriented Japan; and the critic Ian Buruma, whose quick wit and knowledge of Japanese ‘cannot compensate for his glibness and prejudgment, which barely conceal his fundamental ...

Wanting to Be Something Else

Adam Shatz: Orhan Pamuk, 7 January 2010

The Museum of Innocence 
by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Maureen Freely.
Faber, 720 pp., £18.99, December 2009, 978 0 571 23700 5
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... never – a further compliment – to the contemporary writers he most resembles, Paul Auster and Haruki Murakami, whose amiable postmodern noirs unfold in urban labyrinths and feature cerebral men searching for their own identities, and enigmatic women with an alarming tendency to vanish. He has produced novels with fantastic industry, and the prizes ...

Akihito and the Sorrows of Japan

Richard Lloyd Parry: The Anxious Emperor, 19 March 2020

... existed side by side. There are many Chinese and South Koreans who love ramen, manga, Uniqlo and Haruki Murakami, who hop over to Tokyo or Fukuoka to shop and eat, but who see no reason to regard the Japanese of today as fundamentally different from those who murdered, raped and enslaved their forebears in the 1930s and 1940s. The Japanese have failed ...

Ways to Be Pretentious

Ian Penman, 5 May 2016

M Train 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 253 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6768 6
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Collected Lyrics 1970-2015 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 303 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6300 8
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... is it just coincidence that nestling in her book bag are authors such as W.G. Sebald, César Aira, Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolaño, Enrique Vila-Matas and others, writers who purposively smudge the line between memoir and fiction? M Train, with its dot-dash series of woozy photographs, even looks like a Sebald text, and I got the same queasy feeling from ...

On Not Going Home

James Wood, 20 February 2014

... capitalism, and of a globalised aesthetic that prizes writers who, like Orhan Pamuk, Ma Jian and Haruki Murakami, are thought to have transcended local issues and acquired a ‘universal relevance’.It’s hard not to share the derision, once the victim has been so tendentiously trussed. Who could possibly approve of this ...

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