Library Columns Samantha Gambill

Japan Loves Haruki Murakami and So Do We! – Samantha Gambill

S Gambill
Samantha Gambill

I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Japan, a country I have been in love with for decades. As expected, it is an amazing place full of beautiful sights, delicious food, and interesting people. We visited nine cities, some major and minor, and really got to experience the varied lifestyles and cultures in Japan. While there, I did what any good librarian should do–bought 

Booktons of books! I also made sure to ask booksellers and other librarians alike who they thought Japan’s most popular author was. The answer was universal: Haruki Murakami.

You may have heard of Murakami because his books are published around the world in numerous languages and because of the myriad awards he has won, including the World Fantasy Award and Franz Kafka Prize. Or possibly you might have known that in 2015, Murakami was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people. Murakami might not be as prolific an author as some but all of his works have been well received, and you can find them at your local library.

Let’s take a look at just a couple of them, starting with my personal favorite, “1Q84.” “A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, Bookshe realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —’Q is for question mark. A world that bears a question.’ Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.”

At the Center of “After Dark” are  “two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives Bookare radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female ‘love hotel’ manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These ‘night people’ are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.”

Murakami’s much-anticipated new novel, titled “Killing Commendatore” “is an epic tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art – as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby -and a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.” It is set to be released in October. We hope you’ll visit your local library for a copy of this and Murakami’s other works.