What is Past?

Cover Page of Murakami’s best seller, ‘Norwegian Wood’


Norwegian Wood’ is the fourth Murakami novel I have read, and this is my favourite. I asked myself why do I love this most comparing to others, but, I could not find any answer. The man in this novel is very sad at the beginning of the story thinking about his past, what did happen to him before many years ago, when he was a college-going, boy.

Everyone in this world has a strong desire to go back to their past like the main character of the story. There is no answer that why do people love their history more than the present or future.
No Man is rich enough to buy back his past.” – Oscar Wilde.

Through his skill, Haruki Murakami beautifully describes the “complexity of relationships” in this literary work. The novel ends with a question, “Where are you now?”. The author did not give any answers. Instead, he is making readers to find those things themselves. This is the novel which proves Murakami’s real talent as a writer also if we conduct a survey among Murakami readers and ask them, which is the best Murakami’s work, then the answer is one, ‘Norwegian Wood.’

The readers can picturize things from Murakami’s words, and this makes the writer different. When he writes ‘Honolulu‘, we feel that we are in Honolulu and when he writes ‘Tokyo’, we will reach there.

Most of the Murakami novels saying that the death is the only one truth surrounding the human. This is not different for ‘Norwegian Wood.’ There are three suicides in the story, and the reason for their death is unknown.

Many critics find that “this is the novel which has less magical realism content and a changing from usual Murakami style.” “The novel is written in 1987” as per Wikipedia and “translated into English in 2000 by Alfred Birnbaum.

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Murakami’s Short Stories.










Being a person who loves to read I am curious to explore new books and authors. During the exploration through Murakami’s books, I found many characters who are “isolated, lonely”, frustrated and awaiting the arrival of someone to love and talk to them about all the mysteries around.

After reading ‘Dance Dance Dance’, I thought about stopping Murakami for some time. The complex structure of events presented by the author compelled me take a rest. It was my English teacher who introduced, ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’ and made me believe short stories have advantages than novels. It is a collection of 24 short stories. If we think about stopping reading after one chapter, we can do so and this makes the reader more independent. If it is a novel, stopping is hard. Wikipedia says, “all the stories in the book written by Haruki Murakami between 1980 and 2005 and published in different magazines in Japan. The English translation by Philip Gabriel and Jay Robin released in 2006.”

The cover page of ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’.











My favourite short story in that book is ‘Man-Eating Cats’. The title itself is confusing.

The story begins with a newspaper article which explains three cats ate the dead body of their owner when she died and they got trapped in the house. Then he describes a girl who disappeared from the story and the earth as well at the end of the story. She was on her romantic journey in Greece with her partner and she followed some folk music from the mountain and ‘vanished like a smoke’.

The writing style of the Murakami is outstanding. The readers can experience the surroundings of the written piece and characters. When he writes that the river is singing, we can also hear the song of the river in our mind. If one asked me what do you get from a Murakami’s book, I would answer, it always brings wings to my fantasy as the author allows us, the reader, to find answers about uncertainties.


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Connections to Reality.


A Painting on Magical Realism


Reading ‘Dance Dance Dance’ was a herculean task for me. It was such a difficult story, where we meet a number of contrasting characters.

At the beginning of the story, “the narrator has no connection to the world except for his well–worn Subaru”. Gabriel Ng accounts in’Dance Dance Dance-Haruki Murakami’, “he is a typical Murakami’s Protagonist: drinking beer, walking streets, making simple meals and listening to music”. He often dreamt about the Dolphin Hotel, an old-fashioned hotel in Sapporo where he lost his former girlfriend. She just vanished, disappeared into walls.

Through the story, the narrator meets one weird character after another, but he gets no-where in his search for Kiki, his lost girlfriend. This futile quest reveals that he is not as innocent as he looks and is somehow morally corrupted himself.

We, the readers, meet a sudden shifting from reality throughout the story. The extraordinary experience of Yumiyoshi from the sixteenth floor, the meeting of the author with the Sheep Man, the experience of the author in Honolulu, Yuki’s power to predict or see things before they happen, and also the author’s dreams about Kiki, the Dolphin hotel, Yumiyoshi etc are the examples of this sudden shifting or magical realism. Moreover, all the characters are lonely, isolated and they don’t have anyone to hear them until the arrival of the narrator to their life.

It is a slow-moving, mysterious plot as many philosophical fiction novels. The narrator was confused most of the time and waited to get an advice, a sign or signal from a mystic entity, the Sheep Man.

“Dance Dance Dance’ is Haruki Murakami’s sixth novel. It was first published in Japan in 1988, and the English translation by Alfred Birnbaum was released in 1994.”

The protagonist in the novel has overcomplicated dreams.While going through it, we, the readers, understand how the technique of magical realism is used by the author to entertain the readers or encourage them to look at a completely different aspect of reality.


Dance Dance Dance


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Vanished Desire – Sumire !


Murakami’s seventh novel, Sputnik Sweetheart’ which is written in 1999, translated in English by Philip Gabriel is a tale of unrequited love of three individuals, Mr. K, a school teacher and the narrator, Sumire, a young aspiring writer who always wanted to be a character of Jack Kerouac, “Wild, cool, dissolute” and Miu, a successful businesswoman.

The author clearly knows the technique of capturing readers’ attention and trap them on that book since the first sentence. Personally, I love this first sentence.

“In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life.”

A quote from ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ by Murakami

‘Women’s disappearance’ is a usual concept of Murakami’s novels and ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ is one such.

I wonder, how a woman can vanish so fast to find the other side of a person whom she is loving with. How can she disappear just like a smoke while she is a human?

The elements of magical realism are starting from there, from Sumire’s sudden disappearance. She vanished like a smoke during her vacation at the Greek island with Miu.

Writers do not invent the new worlds in ‘Magical Realism’, but they reveal the magical in this world in a realistic tone as was done by Gabriel García Marques who wrote, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. That is the supernatural elements combine with the natural, familiar world. The basis of this literary genre is the existence of fantasy elements in the real world. It will give a unique experience to the readers just like fables, folk tales and myths.

The key to the Sumire’s disappearance is Miu’s story, what did happen in Miu’s life before 14 years.

“The person here isn’t the real me. Fourteen years ago, I became half the person I used to be.”

Sumire went to find the ‘other Miu’. With all other Murakami’s readers and Mr. K, I’m also waiting for her return. Come back Sumire, Come home!


Cover picture of ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’, a famous novel by Haruki Murakami.



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Modern Fairy Tales !

I do not remember when I fell in love with reading books. But I do remember the exact time when I first come across Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami’s books and addicted to those ones. It was during my college days that ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ I read. At that time, I was not aware of the literary elements which made that work outstanding, the sudden and unexpected twist from reality to a magical world surprised me, where we can find three characters orbiting around themselves. Three of them are isolated, lonely and sometimes philosophical. It can also be considered as a tale of unrequited love. That was a new beginning and fresh start. I started to read Murakami.
Murakami’s magical realism inspired me to write this blog. He is one of the pioneers of this literary phenomenon and considered an important figure in post-modern literature. His works are calling ‘modern fairy tales’ by many.

Haruki Murakami-among the world’s greatest living novelists“- The Guardian

Writers and painters used and are still using the technique of ‘Magical realism’ in every aspect of art. It is an invitation to another world, another reality which is completely different and 100% magical. Many of his novels were adapted as films by famous directors and they became popular and successful. Murakami’s personal life is quite different from others. He is an ordinary person who hates the banner of a writer and has never been fond of literary circles. His wife is his first reader and he never acquainted himself with many writers except Ryu Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto. He is a fan of crime novels. Other writers, he was interested in included Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Murakami also has a passion for listening to music, especially classical and Jazz and this lead to the opening of the coffee house and jazz bar before he became a writer.

A quote from Haruki Murakami, the famous Japanese author.

Through this blog, I will share my thoughts regarding this and what I feel and find when I read Murakami’s works. His books, translated into different languages are best sellers. Hopefully, my blog will inspire you to read Murakami and feel the difference of a modern fairy tale.

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