The Imprint of Haruki Murakami

Written by Sairalyn Terrenal

Books are my lifeline and the constant subjects of my Instagram posts – along with a cup of coffee, of course.

One of my favorite novelists is Haruki Murakami. I am truly proud to say that I get inspired, enthralled, and captivated by his writing style. I actually have a love-hate kind of relationship with Murakami. There are times that I re-read a certain page or phrase over and over again, failing to grasp the meaning of it. This usually ends with me burying the book deeply into the bookshelves and swearing that I’ll never read nor touch his books again.

But that is exactly what you will love about Murakami. His style of writing is sparse, unique, and will make you question every little thing you’ve known in life. Murakami has the power to open up your mind to all kinds of possibilities, to let you feel an array of emotions you never knew you could experience, and to question your very existence. I know it’s kind of deep, but that is what I exactly feel. At the end of the day, I always end up reading one of his books just to relive the magical realism only Murakami can mold. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Murakami has written numerous novels, fiction and non-fiction, full of curveballs wrapped in metaphysical metaphors. My 3 favorites are:

#1. “Kafka on the Shore”

I did not expect to like a story about talking cats, but when I was reading this, I felt strangely connected to the characters at so many levels. What I did like the most was the book’s perfect pacing. Murakami takes his time with the reader and gets them attached to the story slowly but effectively, and it is only a matter of time before you realize that you are trapped.

Murakami’s style of writing is indeed powerful. His books are like a song that may not appeal to you at first, but starts to grow on you after each revisit. They will definitely leave you with a literary high – the kind that makes you miss your train station stop, because you are so engrossed in reading.

#2. “Sputnik Sweetheart”

The story is narrated by a boy who’s madly in love with a girl who falls in love with an older woman. I am a sucker for tragedies of unrequited love, and felt an instant connection with this emotionally-engaging book.

This is more subtle than “Kafka on the Shore”. It also has one of Murakami’s trademarks – metaphysical strangeness. “Sputnik Sweetheart” may be shorter than his other works, but it somehow hits the spot for me. Short yet bittersweet.

I don’t like the ending, though; talk about cliffhangers. I guess sometimes you don’t get to witness a happy ending, but more of a realistic one. In the end, it only boils down to how you will interpret it.

#3. “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”

This is what I usually re-read when I’m about to sleep at night; not boring, but lulls me to sleep. The perfect mixture of the dystopian + utopian vibe.

This book has unnamed characters, a naïve girl character and a boy protagonist who thinks the girl is quite not-so-normal, who need to cast off their shadows before entering and then getting assigned jobs, pretty similar to Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.” The two stories are interconnected, but you won’t realize it until the near end. You will also feel that this book is connected to his other works as it employs the same “atmosphere.”

I end this post by sharing one of my favorite excerpts from Murakami’s novel “The Wind Up Bird Chronicle”:

“Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara. “Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things.”

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