The 10 Best Haruki Murakami Books

By Matthew C. Strecher
Publishers Weekly

The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami by Matthew StrecherMurakami Haruki is world-renowned as a novelist of magical realist fiction. His works are built around an almost obsessive urge to explore and understand the inner core of the human identity. His heroes routinely journey into a metaphysical realm—the unconscious, the dreamscape, the land of the dead—to examine directly their memories of people and objects they have lost.

Murakami is a Japanese writer but he is also a “global” one, meaning that his works are best read not as expressions of Japanese culture, but as examinations of questions that concern all humanity. What is the nature of the individual self? What is the meaning of “happiness,” or “success,” in the global age? What is the soul, and how do we get one? Why are some people turned off by the structures of contemporary societies, and what alternatives do they have? These are just a few of the many issues Murakami addresses, and they affect us all.

My own favorites are chosen on a “gut” level; I liked these works because they awakened something in me as a reader, spoke to me about things that were already going on my mind, maybe only subconsciously. Some are powerfully entertaining, others just powerful. All seem to connect to an enduring thematic thread of identity, its construction and its preservation. 

Check out the list.

University of Minnesota Press Podcast

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Art and Posthumanism: Cary Wolfe in conversation with Art after Nature series editors Giovanni Aloi and Caroline Picard.

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Life in Plastic: Petrochemical fantasies and synthetic sensibilities, with Caren Irr, Lisa Swanstrom, Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, and Daniel Worden.

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Live: A book launch for We Are Meant to Rise at Next Chapter Booksellers features Carolyn Holbrook, David Mura, Douglas Kearney, Melissa Olson, Said Shaiye, and Kao Kalia Yang.