Pop Master

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Author in Focus
Garbage Dissect Our Modern Age

Break on through
The elusive Murakami

The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
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Japanese writer probes souls dark kingdom
Big in Japan
The healer
Murakami shares his thougts with students
A Japanese Novelist in Search of Lost Ideals
Inner space
Haruki Murakami does Seattle
Overview of the hard-boiled fiction of hm
The other Speech
dancing as fast as he can
Tokyo Prose
A Voice from Postmodern Japan
The American Scene
Hi Mr Haruki Murakami
The Return from the Lost world
Presents from the dead

Katherine Knorr
A Japanese Novelist in Search of Lost Ideals
  October 20, 1998
  International Herald Tribune


TOKYO - The novelist Haruki Murakami has had the good or bad fortune to be called the voice of a generation.
That generation has had the good fortune to live in times of unparalleled prosperity, and yet it has seemed at times dangerously adrift, both idealistic and utterly selfish. The voice in many of Murakami's novels is that of his very own Japanese Everyman, a good cook, a tidy fellow, fond of European literature and jazz and Cutty Sark, a little jittery at giving up the cigarettes and being abandoned by his wife, sometimes even his cat. The voice is not unlike that of Murakami himself, a neat, trim 49-year-old who once ran a jazz bar and who admits to liking whiskey and ironing.



''In 1968 or '69, we were very idealistic, we had Marxism,'' said Murakami, probably best known in the West for his novel ''A Wild Sheep Chase.'' His most recent book, ''The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,'' is a psychedelic adventure that portrays modern Japan against an ugly historical past."


''Those things are gone. Young people these days don't know what to do, where to go, especially in Japan. Most of my readers are young people, and I think they don't know what is real to them. If I had written my books in the 1960s, nobody would have read those books.''



''After the war,'' he added in colloquial but sometimes hesitant English, ''the world is getting better, the life is getting easier. But things got different - the Cold War - and we got rich, but we did not know which direction we had to go in.''


The sense that something unnamable has been lost, the confusion over what is real and what isn't, is at the heart of Murakami's eerie novels - wild stories somewhere between science fiction and metaphysical bildungsromans, written with plot devices reminiscent of the 19th-century novels that Murakami is so fond of, notably Dickens.

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