Haruki Murakami is one of the few Japanese authors who has managed to captivate the world with his unique literary formula. In his books, basic aspects such as loneliness, fear or lack of love are transfigured by the surreal, through a wide assortment of symbologies and wonderful dream epiphanies. Murakami is a bestselling author and, in turn, the eternal candidate for the Nobel Prize.
When you first immerse yourself in any of your books, something fascinating happens. There is a clear sense that each of these lines are written for oneself. And he gets it because he has the ability to evoke nostalgia for those things that, at some point, we wanted to live and we did not achieve. Few authors achieve so simply, touch our unconscious universe to get excited.
Murakami always places an observer as the protagonist. It is that someone who attends intrigued that which surrounds him: a strange phone call, a cat that is lost, a portal to another dimension in which a love disappears … The fantastic interacts with the everyday, but without touching the magical realism of García Márquez. Because in his works, we appreciate everything as if we were living a lucid dream.
As Haruki Murakami himself often says, writing for him is a way of dreaming. Of daydreaming. In its pages we open numerous portals to descend to another type of consciousness, to a world of underground wells, of animals that become prophets, of a sexuality that almost always acts as an exorcizing act.
Murakami is the David Lynch of the letters and this makes his art too unique for some and simply sublime for others…
“I do not want them to understand my metaphors or the symbolism of the work, I want them to feel like in the good jazz concerts, when the feet can not stop moving under the seats marking the rhythm”.
Biography of Haruki Murakami, the dreamer lover of jazz
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. One of the advantages he had in his childhood was, without doubt, the cultural openness that his parents facilitated. Both were professors of literature, and as a child he enjoyed access to books and American music. He grew up with the most classic novels of North America of the 50s and 60s and was captivated early on with jazz.
Studied literature at the University of Waseda (Soudai), but in those years as a student barely stepped into the classroom. His life, detached almost always from the most traditional Japanese canons, was oriented towards music and that nocturnal universe inside bars in big cities. He worked in a record store and, later, opened the jazz bar Peter Cat in Kokubunji, Tokyo.
It was at the university where he met his wife, Yoko, with whom he shares his love for music and with whom he also ran that bar until the early 80’s. It was in this decade that the first publications of the Murakami. However, its great success comes in 1986 with Norwegian Wood (Tokyo blues). At that moment, a new stage begins: he leaves Japan to live in Europe and the United States.
Dystopian universes, translations and a Nobel Prize that never arrives
It was in 1995 when Haruki Murakami decided to return to Japan temporarily. It does so as a result of two events of great gravity: the Kobe earthquake and the Sarin gas attack by the religious group AUM Shinrikyo. Both disasters later serve as inspiration for such well-known works as Underground (1997) and After the earthquake (2000).
Later, there would come works like Sputnik, my love, in which investigates the nature of affection while telling the story of the disappearance of Sumire, a young novelist. Also novels like Kafka on the shore (2002), After Dark (2004) or 1Q84 (2009) are examples of an invention that navigates those dystopian universes where the reader never comes out unscathed.
Their symbolisms, reflections and that surrealism trap and disconcert at the same time. Few authors have managed to create such a particular style capable of dazzling so many millions of readers. What’s more, Haruki Murakami is one of the greatest bestselling authors, someone who year after year is still resisting the Nobel.
The style of Haruki Murakami
Murakami has recently returned to the field of fiction with The Death of the Commander. This immense novel, almost titanic and published in two volumes, brings us back to those themes that are present in his works: love, loneliness, work … Once again, we find his usual style, with alternative universes, enigmatic figures and a terrain Subscribed for the most intense emotions.
The booksellers love it. No one is like Murakami, they point out. However, in his country they see him as that outlander who inclines excessively for the American culture; to the point of seeing him as a “pop” writer. However, in the West, it still captivates us. He does it because he inspires devotion, because reading it, is as Churchill would say, an enigma within a mystery. It produces strangeness and fascinates us at the same time.
To this day, his books have been translated into 42 languages. It has been bestseller even in South Korea and China. That ability to intermingle the empirical with the oneiric, that originality to truffle stories with supernatural elements is something that seems to catch millions of readers. Because, despite the strangeness of its symbolisms, we all identify with many of those images, with those realities nourished by affections, fears and loneliness.