Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Murakami the Magician

If the Japanese literary establishment is still (mysteriously) sniffy about the credentials of Murakami, the amount of recognition his works are winning abroad ought to turn the tide.

His latest novel, Kafka on the Shore was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Award back in January. And now his collection of short fiction Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman has taken the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize (which he shares with his translators).

According to the Guardian:
"Murakami writes with great integrity" said the judges "unafraid of dealing with tough and difficult situations between people who constantly misunderstand each other."

They praised the "terrific sense of magic" of his "truly accomplished voice", his "contemporary ability to create extended monologues of fear" and the way his stories push "deeper and deeper through layers of meaning". "Long after reading his stories, the images and situations he constructs remain unforgettable ... His writing reminds us, ultimately, that the reader comes to published work in search of magic."
Ted is understandably happy, I'm sure, and you can find his review on the Star website.


Ted Mahsun said...

Kafka's been nominated for the World Fantasy Award too. But I doubt the Japanese literati will begin to sit up and notice. He's been getting awards and recognition for some time now but they've still been thumbing their noses at him.

Besides, not everyone in the West thinks highly of Murakami. My review gushes over his latest book but for a negative side of things, there's reviews by Ed Champion and Scott Esposito.

I particularly like what Esposito has to say in this blog post.

But I still like Murakami anyway, no matter what people say.

madcap machinist said...

I was just writing to DI who sent me Norwegian Woods that the Vintage paperbacks have gorgeous cover art.

But that's neither here nor there of course.

animah said...

Wow Sharon, was this a "welcome home" present for me? Just got back last night, and after skimming through the thousand or so unread e-mails, I had to come to your blog.
Actually, we could link this article with your last one. Was Murakami high on something whenever he wrote? I mean his ideas challenge human logic and convention from the word go. I thought this was a Japanese thing - otherwise how could they be so inventive and imaginative.
A challenge for Ted who seems to have read all Murakami's books: Do you know any of his novels which do not contain any of the following: a jazz bar, classical music, cooking, travel and a feline character (missing or otherwise) which plays a significant role to the storyline.

Ted Mahsun said...

I've only read 5 of his books (out of his 15 published in English), but I don't remember there being any jazz bars or cats in Norwegian Wood, but I could be wrong since I read it nearly 3 years ago. No jazz bars in Kafka on the Shore come to think of it. Hmm. Or after the quake.

I'm not sure about this but Murakami doesn't strike me as someone who gets high or drunk. He's a notorious health freak who takes a few laps around his swimming pool before he starts writing and takes part in marathons.

I think it's a Japanese thing. Their manga and anime has always striked me as completely bizarre.

Yvonne Foong said...

I saw his books displayed so prominently at Borders but the cover is a bit WAH... so I wonder if his writing is any good.

thanks for the recommendation!

wjfljql said...

maybe he deserved it, but murakami haruki shouldn't won. he's got so much already. i liked it better when yiyun got it last year.

Anonymous said...

Nice girl on cover sell book ? :)

Anonymous said...

Murakami is a genius. only he can give us that kind of unconventional type of thinking and still end up on best seller list.
his work is intriquing although you know it is illogical. but that does not stop you from reading from page to page.