The Franz Kafka Prize

2006 - Haruki Murakami

Born: 12 January 1949, Kyoto

Author's quote: "When I am writing, I do not distinguish between the natural and supernatural. Everything seems real. That is my world, you could say."

Field: Fiction & Nonfiction

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Haruki Murakami

About Haruki Murakami

Although born in Kyoto, Japan, Murakami spent his youth in Shukugawa (Nishinomiya). His father was the son of a Buddhist priest, and his mother the daughter of an Osaka merchant. Both taught Japanese literature. Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a wide range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan and Jack Kerouac. These Western influences distinguish Murakami from other Japanese writers. Murakami also studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Haruki Murakam is considered a contemporary Japanese writer and his works have been translated into 50 languages. His best-selling books have sold millions of copies.

His works include a combimation of both fiction and non-fiction and have garnered the acclaim in which he has received numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009).

Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and he has also translated a number of English works into Japanese.

Murakami's fiction is still criticized by Japan's literary establishment as being "un-Japanese", and has been influenced by Western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the "recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness" he weaves into his narratives. He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.

McEwan began his career writing sparse, Gothic short stories. The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981) were his first two novels, and earned him the nickname "Ian Macabre". These were followed by three novels of some success in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1997, he published Enduring Love, which was made into a film. He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. This was followed by Saturday (2005), On Chesil Beach (2007), Solar (2010), and Sweet Tooth (2012). In 2009, he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.


Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World - Haruki Murakami

By Paul J. Bradshaw

This is the fourth or fifth Murakami book I've read, and quite easily the best after Norwegian Wood. The book switches between two stories: a wonderfully curious and imaginative adventure through an alternative future-now Japan (Hard-Boiled Wonderland); and a mysterious exploration of a walled old city (the End of the World). The two stories eventually connect in a way that causes a wonderful collision of thoughts and questions in the reader's mind, but I won't give anything away by saying anything more. Like all good dystopias, this is thoroughly well thought-through and researched; Kafkaesque comes to mind, as does Alice in Wonderland. But this is married with Murakami's postmodernist bent and a feeling that he's having as much fun as you are. Very enjoyable, totally escapist, and you'll want to dive back into this world once you've left it.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World - Haruki Murakami

By Bibliophile

This is simply the best book I have ever read! I was hooked from the first page and drawn into the world of the narrator as subtly as one is drawn into a dream. The linking of the subconscious and conscious elements of the mind are at work here, and this is what makes this book all at once so wonderful, disturbing and enlightening. It is a psychological masterpiece and lays bare the interconnectedness of all things- the people in our lives, the places, the choices we make, our dreams, desires, longings and regrets and most importantly, the often inexplicable and enigmatic relationship between our subconscious and conscious mind. The masterful way Murakami interweaves the chapters begins with a divergent simplicity and gradually progresses to a complex, synchronistic web/mandala in which all points share a beginning yet have no end.