Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author who started writing at the age of 29. He did so after getting inspired by a baseball match. Murakami has come to rule the literary scene with his interesting plot lines and immaculate storytelling skills.
A lot of people get confused while picking up his book. They just don’t know where to start. We are here to help you, mentioned below are 5 of his books that one must read.
Kafka on the Shore
This is a 2002 novel. It comprises of two distinct but interrelated plots, the narrative runs back and forth between both plots, taking up each plotline in alternating chapters. The odd chapters are about 15-year-old Kafka who runs away from his father’s home and finds refuge in a private library. He spends most of his time reading books but soon, the police start enquiring about him in connection with a murder.
The other plot, covered in the even-numbered chapters, is about an old man named Nakata who ends with a job as a cat finder. One particular case takes him far away from home and puts him on the road for the first time in his life. He ends up befriending a truck driver who becomes attached to him quite quickly.
Hear the Wind Sing
This is Murakami’s first novel.
he story is narrated by a 21-year-old at the cusp of adulthood trying to grapple the concept of change and loss. The narrator never names himself but refers to his best friend as the Rat. They often go to a bar where they have existential discussions while sipping beer.
The story explores the different romantic relationships of the author, the most traumatic one being the one where his girlfriend committed suicide. He is in an undefined relationship with a girl who has nine fingers. At the bottom of it all, you can see that the narrator is just a boy trying to adult.
This is the sequel to Hear The Wind Sing. Murakami explores the theme of loss and nostalgia in this one too but more through the lens of the relationship that the unnamed narrator had with his girlfriend, Naoko, who committed suicide. There are two twins who slip in and out of the narrator’s mind throughout the novel. The book ends in a quest for the narrator’s favorite pinball machine from his Naoko days and connection with Naoko’s memory.
South of the Border, West of the Sun
This story is about Hajime who finds himself to be lonely while growing up because he is a single child. He finds companionship in Shimamoto, a girl who suffers from Polio and is also an only child. They often get together to listen to her father’s record collection but the two soon grow apart as his family shifts towns.
The two lose touch and Hajime eventually meets another girl. He goes on to marry her and have two wonderful daughters with her. Hajime’s father-in-law even gives him enough capital to start his own bar. Life seems perfect on the outside but Hajime can never shake off the feeling of missing something. Till one day, Shimamoti reappears in his life. She is attractive and shrouded in mystery, both qualities that make her irresistible to Hajime. He finds himself unable to decide whether to choose his family or his love.
A Wild Sheep Chase
This one is a vivid combination of fantasy, mythology, mystery, comedy, and drama that leads the reader through the journey of one man’s quest for his own identity, as well as for a very special sheep. The main character, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, is an advertising executive whose existence is one of self-absorption and meritocracy.
A Wild Sheep Chase is a novel about isolation, authority, and the duality of good and evil, as well as the story of one man’s journey to find himself.