There are always some people, whom either you adore a lot or you hate them.
There is no in-between. You can’t say he or she is an average person. The average word just doesn’t suit. I always admire such people for their exclusitivity. Whether they are really good or worse but the thing about them is they are original.
They don’t try to copy others, some might not like them but they never try to quench other’s satisfaction by losing their originality.
In the last 3-4 years, I have read different genre of books written by various authors. And I just love some of the writers. I am in awe of them.
Even in this amazing world of books, just like people in real life, there are some writers about whom people have mixed opinions. But there are some exceptional writers whom people either obsessively love or they hate him (because they can’t make any sense of their work).
Haruki Murakami is one such exceptional author. I have seen people who don’t like his works at all. And some people who just adore his works.
Where am I standing?
Well, I have read just 3 of his books and although there are many to be read, I am definitely in the category who just loves his books.
His books are not based on any fairy tale story neither any extraordinary people’s story and yet they transcend you to a different world. The stories are so relatable that for some moment you might forget you are reading fiction.
He will take you to the journey of a familiar yet adventurous world and then pull you down to the real life, make you grounded. It’s exactly a rollercoaster. In fact, he beautifully said in one of his books-
“Whatever you are seeking won’t come in the form you are expecting”
Every time I read his writings, it feels like I am diving deeper into the depth of my soul. He makes me feel more of a human being. He shows magic through his writings and he admitted so when he said-
“In part, the work of a novelist is similar to being an illusionist.”
What surprised me most is his way of writing stories. He never plans his books. Just like a reader he doesn’t know the end when he starts writing a book. If there is a murder in the story, he doesn’t know the murderer until he finishes the story.
His writing is free flowing not mechanically planned. I believe that’s what helps him create such alluring works. I think-
“You can design creativity but you cannot plan creativity”
His story about how he became a writer is even more fascinating.
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. Later he moved to Kobe and then to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University to study drama. There he met his wife Yoko.
Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened a coffee house and jazz bar in Tokyo, which he ran along with his wife Yoko. Murakami got married just at the age of 23.
In 1978 Murakami was in the bleachers of Jingu Stadium watching a baseball game. When Dave Hilton, an American came to bat.
According to an oft-repeated story, in the instant that he hit a double, Murakami suddenly realized that he could write a novel. He went home and began writing that night. Before that, he didn’t write anything. He described the feeling a like a “warm sensation” he could still feel in his heart
Wow! It sounds like a fairy tale right. But it’s true. Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime.
He published his first noble ‘Hear The Wind Sing’ in 1980 at the age of 31 and won the best fiction written by a new writer.
Murakami’s initial success with Hear the Wind Sing encouraged him to continue writing. Later he wrote ‘Pinball’, ‘A wild Sheep’ etc.
His fame escalated widely after he wrote ‘Norwegian Wood‘ in 1987. This spreads his work worldwide. Later a movie was also made on this book by the same name in 2012.
Some of his best books include The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, etc.
Writing about Haruki Murakami is a really challenging job. He is notorious for shying away from the media and he rarely does any interviews. You won’t get any information about him on the internet.
He lives in his own beautiful world. It’s very understandable why he does so. You need to be away from all kinds of distractions to create what he creates.
Another interesting fact about him is his passion for running. To date, he has run more than 30 marathons.
In fact, he has written an entire book on this named What I talk When I Talk about Running.
Murakami is turned 70 years old. Even at this age he always wakes up at around 4 a.m, writes for 3-4 hours, then go for a long run. His evenings are quiet usually.
Exercise is crucial for Murakami. He started writing is like endurance sports. You need an extremely focused and resilient mind for a long time. He said once-
” When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long—six months to a year—requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity. “–in a 2004 interview with John Wray for The Paris Review
In his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running he said-
” After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed for a writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years. You can compare it to breathing. “
All of Murakami’s admirers agree with me on the fact that all his works are so close to life. It’s his amazing ability to voyage his readers through his books to a roller coaster journey. And after each journey, the reader feels like living another life. A life filled with adventurous, failures, successes, and a lot of beautiful memories.
His books bring the readers closer to life by unveiling life’s layers.
In a prize ceremony, he said-
” I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. The purpose of a story is to sound an alarm, to keep a light trained on The System in order to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them. I fully believe it is the novelist’s job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories—stories of life and death, stories of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter seriousness. “
If you are someone who likes to read books and haven’t yet read Haruki Murakami’s books, then you should try out his books. Either you won’t like them or you will fall in love with them madly.
Haruki Murakami has been awarded with many awards, recognitions throughout the world. In 2018, when he was nominated for an alternative to the Nobel Prize in Literature, he withdrew his name by saying that he wanted to concentrate on his writings. Obviously he is not interested in awards, all he wants is to create mesmerizing stories that move people.
But as an admirer of Murakami, I definitely want the Nobel prize to be given to Haruki Murakami. Hopefully, he will get it soon.
I remember some beautiful lines about struggles in life from his book Kafka on the Shore–
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
I love his books and who knows you might too. Give them a try.
Thank you Haruki Murakami for writing such spellbinding stories.
Have a meaningful week. Until next time.