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March 6, 2006 | by  | in Books |
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Haruki Murakami

Writing that aims for surrealism (like those dull people who describe everything that happens to them as crazy or random) is often boring and pointless. It doesn’t have to be though- one of my favourite writers is Haruki Murakami, the Japanese king of weird. Marukami’s surrealism is understated and readable.

The secret to his success is that he doesn’t overdo the strangeness. His protagonists are often lonely middle-aged men, and they live in the real world. They accidentally check into the world’s strangest hotel, or find the girl next door hiding in a well. They are drawn into very strange situations entirely by coincidence, coincidence basically being Murakami’s obsession. The prose is literal, even flat, possibly the result of translation. The lack of flowery metaphor helps the surrealist factor fall, and a Murakami novel is an easy read in the best sense of the phrase. Particularly recommended: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood.

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