Journal, Writing

Murakami

The interplay between mood and tone is what always brings me back to Haruki Murakami. I can see how some might complain that it makes his books too similar. But I don’t see a whole lot of people complaining about his writing.

I admire the fact that the work carries a similar attitude throughout his extensive bibliography. I have to imagine that a body of work that shows consistency and growth would be an author’s dream.

I came to Murakami like most—through Norwegian Wood. Since then, I’ve read just about everything else. I think A Wild Sheep Chase is my second favorite work he’s produced. (That may be, in part, because of what I know about how it was written.)

My favorite book by Haruki Murakami is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’ve actually only listened to it on audiobook, but I’ve probably heard to it a dozen times because, for a time, I played it repeatedly while jogging.

The book details Murakami’s journey as a marathon runner. But it includes some reflections on his early days as the owner of a jazz bar and an emerging novelist.

Murakami’s first works were pitched as novels, but they were novellas. A Wild Sheep Chase, on the other hand, is novel-length and demonstrates a move in a more mature and developed direction. According to his autobiographical book on running, that novel involved both risk and uncertainty. And, for god’s sake, it gave us the sheep man.

One last thing, if you’re wondering why there’s an image of a cat at the top of this essay, you should read Kafka on the Shore.

photo: Marko Blažević

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Durham, NC. His stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten a sci-fi novel and is the author of several children's books. You can reach him by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.