Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words

Jay Rubin

While vaguely biographical, this book is mostly a critical look at Murakami’s work (up until its publication). Jay Rubin is one of the handful of the translators who have brought Murakami’s work into English; as such this book looks at more than just the works available in English, since Rubin obviously has the means to read the assorted as-yet-untranslated stories. It’s presented in chronological order with anecdotal insights into Murakami’s life often inserted as asides and occasionally longer biographic passages.

When I first read Norwegian Wood several years ago, I wasn’t entirely impressed. Sputnik Sweetheart only made me uninterested, but After the Quake was so good, I gave him another chance. Now I feel that I probably read my least favorite of his books first.

Readers expecting to learn where certain elements of his book derive from may be disappointed to hear how almost boring his life has been. Though he did at one point own a jazz club in Tokyo, much like the character in South of the Border, West of the Sun.