Considered “the world’s most popular cult novelist” (The Guardian), Haruki Murakami has written books that have galvanized millions around the world. His imagination is unparalleled, and each book promises to take you on an adventure and make you look at the world in a new and different way. If you’re a long-time fan or a first-time reader, you’ll find your next great read in the list below.
The international literary icon opens his eclectic closet: Here are photographs of Murakami’s extensive and personal T-shirt collection including gems from the Springsteen on Broadway show in NYC, to the Beach Boys concert in Honolulu, to the shirt that inspired the short story “Tony Takitani.” Accompanied by essays, these photographs reveal much about Murakami’s multifaceted and wonderfully eccentric persona.
Stunning and elegiac, Norwegian Wood first propelled Murakami into the forefront of the literary scene. A magnificent coming-of-age story steeped in nostalgia, Norwegian Wood blends the music, the mood, and the ethos that were the sixties with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love.
Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.
In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat—and then for his wife as well—in a netherworld beneath the city’s placid surface. As these searches intersect, he encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists. Gripping, prophetic, and suffused with comedy and menace, this is an astonishingly imaginative detective story.
When a portrait painter is abandoned by his wife, he secludes himself in the mountain home of a world famous artist. One day, the young painter hears a noise from the attic, and upon investigation, discovers a previously unseen painting. By unearthing this hidden work of art, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances; and to close it, he must undertake a perilous journey into a netherworld that only Murakami could conjure.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84—“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is a tremendous feat of imagination.
While training for the NYC Marathon, Murakami decided to keep a journal of his progress. The result is a memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid recollections and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, here is a rich and revelatory work that elevates the human need for motion to an art form.
Opening the flaps of this unique little book, readers will find themselves immersed in the strange world of Murakami’s wild imagination. It is the fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. This 96-page volume is a treat for book lovers of all ages.
Across seven tales, Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are the lovesick doctors, students, ex-boyfriends, actors, bartenders, and even Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, brought together to tell stories that speak to us all.
An advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend and casually appropriates the image for an advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the scene is a mutant sheet with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences.
Dance Dance Dance—a follow-up to A Wild Sheep Chase—is a tense, poignant, and often hilarious ride through Murakami’s Japan, a place where everything that is not up for sale, is up for grabs. This book brilliantly fuses together science fiction, hardboiled thriller, and white-hot satire.
K is madly in love with his best friend, Sumire, but her devotion to a writerly life precludes her from any personal commitments. At least, that is, until she meets an older woman to whom she finds herself irresistibly drawn. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, K is solicited to join the search party. Part romance, part detective story, Sputnik Sweetheart is a profound meditation on human longing.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present.
The eight stories in this new book are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. From memories of youth, and an ardent love of baseball, to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. Occasionally, a narrator may or may not be Murakami himself. Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides.
The twenty-four stories that make up this collection generously express the incomparable Murakami’s mastery of the form. From the surreal to the mundane, these stories exhibit Murakami’s ability to transform the full range of human experience in ways that are instructive, surprising, and entertaining.
On a clear spring day in 1995, five members of a religious cult unleashed poison gas on the Tokyo subway system. In an attempt to discover why, Murakami talks to the people who lived through the catastrophe, and in so doing lays bare the Japanese psyche. As he discerns the fundamental issues that led to the attack, he paints a clear vision of an event that could occur anytime, anywhere.
Across two parallel narratives, Murakami draws readers into a mind-bending universe in which Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, a deranged scientist, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is a novel that is at once hilariously funny and a deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.
In After Dark—a gripping novel of late night encounters—Murakami’s trademark humor and psychological insight are distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery. This is the thrilling account of the magical hours separating midnight from dawn.
South of the Border, West of the Sun is the beguiling story of a past rekindled. Rich, mysterious, and quietly dazzling, this book offers the simple arc of one man’s life and how it becomes the exquisite literary terrain of Murakami’s remarkable genius.
A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between Murakami and the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa. A deep reflection on the essential nature of both music and writing, Absolutely on Music is an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of two maestros.
Wind/Pinball, a unique two-in-one volume, includes, on one side, Murakami’s first novel Hear the Wind Sing. When you flip the book over, you can read his second novel, Pinball, 1973. This edition gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginnings.
In these stories, a man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald’s in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard. By turns haunting and hilarious, this work crosses the border between separate realities—and comes back bearing remarkable treasures.