Interviews


Break on through
The elusive Murakami

Up from the Underground
The healer
The Outsider
The human cost

Roll over Basho
Murakami is seeking new style
Mizumaru Ansei

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Writer on the boderline
     
     
  December1 , 2002
The Japan Times

 

Haruki Murakami is Japan's most important and internationally acclaimed living writer. "Norwegian Wood," his fourth novel, has sold more than 2 million copies since it was published in 1987. His latest, "Kafka on the Shore," has sold more than 200,000 copies since its publication in September, and has topped the bestseller lists in Japan for more than two months.

 
 

 

Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and raised in nearby Kobe. He moved to Tokyo to attend Waseda University at 18, then lived in Europe and America before returning to Japan in 1995. Since 1979, and his first novel "Hear the Wind Sing," he has written more than 30 works of fiction and nonfiction in his native language and translated more than 30 titles from English into Japanese. His own books have been translated into 16 languages, with 10 now available in English.

 

At 53, Murakami is dauntingly prolific and almost aggressively healthy. He swims and runs daily, and has run marathons in New York, Boston and Sapporo. He is in bed by 9 p.m. and up at 4. "You need power to be a good writer," he explains in a deep baritone that is as comforting in timbre as it is precise in expression.

 
 

 

Murakami's new story collection, "After the Quake," speaks intimately to readers in the post-Sept. 11 world. Its six fictions are linked by the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Kobe and surrounding areas in January 1995, and by the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks in Tokyo that March. The book has a healing, meditative power that prompted one U.S. reviewer to call it "close to flawless," and another to identify it as Murakami's "get-well card."

 

Murakami lives with his wife, Yoko, in Oiso, a beach resort near Tokyo, but usually works out of a city-center apartment. Recently, he has become more active in making public appearances abroad. This fall saw him busy with readings, interviews and book-signings in New York and Germany, and he plans to visit Britain next spring. Murakami is unusually accessible to his fans, responding to them via e-mail on his Web site ( www.kafkaontheshore.com ).

 
   
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