Saturday, January 12, 2013

From The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of the novelist Haruki Murakami (books by this author), born in Kyoto, Japan (1949). He is best known in America as the author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1995).
Murakami is the child of Japanese literature teachers, but he was more interested in American literature as a boy. He studied literature and drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, and after graduation, Murakami operated a jazz bar called the "Peter Cat" in Tokyo for eight years. During this time, he became familiar with Western music, and that is why so many of his novels have musical themes.
Murakami did not write at all until after age 30. He claims that he was inspired to write his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing (1979), while watching a baseball game. He worked on the novel for many months, usually after finishing his workdays at the jazz club, and the finished book had short chapters and a fragmented style. Murakami sent the novel to a writing contest and won first prize.
He published Norwegian Wood (1987), which sold millions of copies in Japan and made Murakami a literary sensation. To escape the fame, he and his wife lived abroad for several years, in Europe and in the United States, where Murakami taught at Princeton University. They returned to Japan in 1995. In 2002, he published Kafka on the Shore, a novel John Updike called "a real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender." It's about a teenager named Kafka Tamura, a "cool, tall, 15-year-old boy lugging a backpack and a bunch of obsessions."
His latest book is 1Q84 (2011).
Haruki Murakami said: "I write weird stories. Myself, I'm a very realistic person. [...] I wake up at six in the morning and go to bed at 10, jogging every day and swimming, eating healthy food. [...] But when I write, I write weird."

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