Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is a prolific bestselling author whose books have been translated into fifty languages and have sold millions of copies outside of Japan. Murakami is noted for his somewhat absurdist humor in his writing, as well as many traditional elements of Japanese literature.

Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and then moved to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University. After college, Murakami opened a small jazz bar, which he and his wife ran for seven years.

His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. He followed this success with two sequels, Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, which all together form “The Trilogy of the Rat.”

Murakami is also the author of the novels Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the WorldNorwegian WoodDance Dance DanceSouth of the BorderWest of the Sun; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Sputnik SweetheartKafka on the ShoreAfter Dark1Q84; and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. He has written three short story collections: The Elephant VanishesAfter the Quake; and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; and an illustrated novella, The Strange Library.

Kafka on the Shore follows two distinct plots. In one, a fifteen-year-old boy named Kafka goes on a journey to escape an oedipal curse and find his family. In the other, a cat-finder named Nakata realizes that his path is changing.

Additionally, Murakami has written several works of nonfiction. After the Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, he interviewed surviving victims, as well as members of the religious cult responsible. From these interviews, he published two nonfiction books in Japan, which were selectively combined to form Underground. He also wrote a series of personal essays on running, entitled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

The most recent of his many international literary honors is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V. S. Naipaul. Murakami’s work has been translated into more than fifty languages.

Visit his website here.

Purchase his novels here.

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