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Murakami - Where to start?


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Initial post: 24 Jun 2009 19:23:17 BDT
Pensmith says:
Hello literate and educated people, please advise me which Murakami to start with.

Posted on 24 Jun 2009 19:44:56 BDT
Ms. A. Quinn says:
Dance, Dance, Dance. Loved it.

Posted on 5 Jul 2009 19:22:47 BDT
I Readalot says:
Yes, Dance, Dance, Dance is a great book but you should really read A Wild Sheep Chase First where he stays at the first Dolphin Hotel. Ideally I would read them in the order they were published. However, the first one I read was After Dark and became hooked. Also don't forget his non-fiction Underground, about the Tokyo gas attacks, not as hard to read as it sounds. There is a great book about Murakami by Jay Rubin, Murakami and the Music of Words, it gives a great insight into the man and his novels/short stories. Finally, if you do enjoy Murakami then I suggest you also take a look at Roberto Bolano - amazing and addictive are the words that spring to mind.

Posted on 5 Jul 2009 19:40:04 BDT
H Filty says:
The first one I read was 'Underground', which is his book of interviews with survivors of the Japanese gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995.

If anything, I would dive in at the deep end and start with one of the later books - to see where he is at now. Kafka on the Shore is excellent. Failing that, Sputnik Sweetheart had me captivated. Don't think about it, pick one off the bookshelves that appeals to you the most and just read it.

Posted on 5 Jul 2009 19:49:47 BDT
I started with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, then Norwegian Wood, then Kafka on the Shore. This worked for me, I have now bought and read all of them!! Kafka is my favourite though.

Posted on 5 Jul 2009 22:46:01 BDT
Prof. Plum says:
Funny, my first Murakami book was also "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" which I read due to a recommendation by a book called "1000 books to read before you die". I liked the sound of it. It was fantastic! A great style devoid of florid excesses. I then read "Norwegian Wood" and although it was quite different I really enjoyed it. I would recommend either book to anyone. However, be warned once you read one Murakami book prepare yourself for more of his books. He is addictive! As to the question posed, I would ask a similar one which is "what is the best Murakami book" to people who have read them all. Then read it or the first one published as both methods have their bonuses.

Posted on 27 Aug 2009 23:27:44 BDT
Pensmith says:
Thanks to you all. I am now hooked. I went Wind Up Bird, Kafka then Norwegian wood. They are genuine reading pleasure. They are all outstanding, but I would call Wind Up Bird Chronicles a masterpiece.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Aug 2009 03:56:41 BDT
Hyoscine says:
I'm really glad you enjoyed them, and I totally agree with you about Wind Up Bird Chronicles being a masterpiece. If you're still after recommendations, I'd say give After The Quake a go next. It totally runs with that feeling of being on the cusp of understanding something that's so much a part of WUBC and Norwegian Wood.

Posted on 28 Aug 2009 08:52:42 BDT
I Readalot says:
Great another Murakami convert. Kafka on the Shore is an amazing book. Don't forget his autobiographical What I Talk about when I Talk About Running - why he started running and how it is integral to his writing, fascinating. The more you read of Murakami the more you realise he has created hi own world. I just wish that he would bring out another book although in the meantime I am re-reading.

Posted on 27 Apr 2011 10:01:04 BDT
Hippocratia says:
I was bought "The Wind Up Bird Chronicles" as a birthday present, and then several more of Murakami's books as a Christmas present. I read and really enjoyed all of them, so should really get my act together and look for others that I haven't read yet. His world is completely different to anything else I have read.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2011 10:07:01 BDT
I Readalot says:
And his new novel 1Q84 will finally be available in English later this year, said to be his most ambitious ever.

Posted on 27 Apr 2011 10:23:55 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
My favourites are South Of The Border, West Of The Sun and Sputnik Sweetheart. Either of these would be a good starting point I think. I read Norwegian Wood first and I enjoyed it, but it didn't prepare me for the surrealism in his other work.

Posted on 27 Apr 2011 18:56:31 BDT
There's two Murakamis by the way... Fortunately both are good, so here's my favourite of each:

In The Miso Soup - dark, disturbing noir by Ryu M.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World - crazy surrealism by Haruki M.

James

Posted on 27 Apr 2011 19:57:51 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
Ooh, what a wonderful thread. I started a Murakami thread a while ago and was reminiscing yesterday (brought on by having udon noodles for supper). There was a great conversation on one of the US threads (ironically titled "Ian Rankin Recommendations") about which Murakami to start with. Somehow the Murakami-virgin in question was convinced to start with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

I started with Sputnik Sweetheart and it was definitely the right choice for me. Wind-up Bird Chronicle is certainly a masterpiece but it's like starting Bolano with 2666 (which I did) rather than Savage Detectives - there's nowhere to hide!!

I think South of the Border, West of the Suna nd Norwegian Wood are the very best starting points, albeit they are both at the sentimental end of his work (I'm a sucker for that - After dark si a good introductory book at the other end)

If you love Murakami Haruki, then I'd second what James says about Ryu - In the Miso Soup is great but you might like to try Audition, on which the infamous film was based.

If I may recommend someone whose surname isn't Murakami, may I mention my absolute absolute favourite writer, Banana Yoshimoto? Kitchen is a great introduction and her most famous work, but n.p. is her very very best, and my favourite book in the whole world.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2011 08:23:29 BDT
Hey, I started with "Hard Boiled..." and it never did me any harm.

(Apart from not being sure if the world I live in is in fact the inside of my own head, and feeling vaguely uneasy whenever I hear Dylan's 'Hard Rain...', that is)

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2011 09:35:03 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
James, freaks me out now every time I see a unicorn skull...

Posted on 28 Apr 2011 10:48:50 BDT
Yeah, bloomin' people leaving unicorn skulls lying around all over the place...

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2011 10:55:33 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
Can't move for them in Liverpool...

Posted on 29 Apr 2011 21:11:28 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
No unicorns in Oxford - but I do live with 5 talking cats

Posted on 29 Apr 2011 21:14:03 BDT
Talking? ... are you sure you don't mean stalking?

Posted on 29 Apr 2011 21:21:29 BDT
Mark Porter says:
'Hard Boiled' is a fantastic book, flips between genres whilst retaining a tremendously clear narrative voice. I loved this book, very original. Also loved 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' and 'Sputnik Sweetheart.'

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2011 21:47:33 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
Hey Mark, how's it going? Yes, those are my favourites too... I still have a few left to read though.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2011 22:00:53 BDT
Jazzguy says:
I believe Norwegian Wood is the most accessible, so a good one to start with. When you've had your fill of the others why not try David Mitchell's (he of Cloud Atlas fame) Japan-inspired novels eg Ghostwritten, number9dream, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Posted on 29 Apr 2011 22:01:30 BDT
Ok - I have cracked under the pressure... I bought one! And just to be perverse, I ignored all your recommendations and selected by which one was cheapest 2nd hand. So there. And if I don't like it you all have to give me my money back.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2011 22:06:41 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
Ok, which one was it?
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  47
Total posts:  393
Initial post:  24 Jun 2009
Latest post:  1 Jan 2012

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