Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer who has written more than 50 books and the count is still going on. He has written some very famous books like Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and many more. These books are like gems for the hard-core book readers. Let’s talk about some of Murakami’s books which are super famous and you guys should definitely check them out once.
Note: These books are sorted by year of publishing.
Here is the list of the 10 super famous Haruki Murakami’s books:
1. Hear the Wind Sing
This is the very first novel written by Murakami and it was published in 1979. Also, it is the first book of the popular “Trilogy of the Rat” series, followed by Pinball, 1973 (1980) and A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), before the later epilogue Dance Dance Dance (1988).
It is kind of simple and not much more magical realism things or postmodernism. It mostly follows the simplicity of life and it kind of has the postmodern aspect that how meaningless is life. This book has an unnamed narrator who meets a girl who is also unnamed but is referred to as the girl with nine fingers. They start seeing each other and the whole story is much more character-driven.
2. Pinball, 1973
It is the second book in the “Trilogy of the Rat” series and it was published in 1980. Despite being the early work of his career, this book shares many elements which Murakami’s other book has.
It also explores themes of loneliness and companionship, purposelessness, and destiny.
3. A Wild Sheep Chase
It was published in 1982 and it is the third novel by Murakami also is the third part of the “Trilogy of the Rat”. In this book Murakami mix-up the elements of American and English literature with Japanese contexts. He tries to explore post-WWII Japanese culture.
The story follows an unnamed narrator who is a chain smoker and follows his adventure in Tokyo and Hokkaido in 1978.
4. The Strange Library
The Strange Library first appeared in 1983 and it is a novella for Children. In this Novella, A boy went to a local library to borrow some books. When he asked to borrow the books so they sent him to the old man in a basement.
The old man takes him to a room via a maze where he will be permitted to read. There the boy meets a sheepman who was imprisoned in a cell and he has given one month to fully memories the book so that the old man can eat his brain full of knowledge.
Somehow they both manage to escape from there with the help of a girl, after going a little far the sheepman disappeared and the boy went back to his home and he decides never to visit the library again.
As it is a novella so it is a quite short story but very interesting for kids and adults as well.
5. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the end of the World
This novel was published in 1985 and first, it was written in Japanese as it is written by a Japanese writer, and in 1991 is was translated and published into the English language by Alfred Birnbaum.
In this book, two different stories are narrated parallelly. The odd number chapter is about “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” and the other one is about “The End of the World”. It is kind of a science-fiction book, there are two groups, the first one protects the data and the other one steal it.
The story is quite interesting to those who love sci-fi.
6. Norwegia Wood
Norwegian wood is a romance novel and published in 1987. It is a story about losing our loved ones and finding the love of life.
IIn this book, there are three characters Watanabe, his best friend Kizuki, and his girlfriend Naoko the three were best friends. Suddenly, one-day Kizuki commits suicide and his death Watanabe and Naoko begin to come close. They both were spending more and more time together and they have sex as well.
After that Naoko leaves the place to get treatment for her mental illness. Eventually, Watanabe gets attracted to another girl named Midori and he gets confused that he doesn’t want to leave Midori but he can’t hurt Naoko as well. After some time he got to know that Naoko killed herself.
7. South of the Border
This is a short novel published in 1992 in Japanese and translated into English and published in 1999. It is a romance and fiction novel.
In the book, It is a story about a boy named Hajime who lived in a small town of Tokyo. There he meets a girl named Shimamoto who is suffering from polio and she has to drag her leg while she walks.
They both used to spend most of their time together but eventually, Shimamoto has to join a different school because of higher education. At the age of 36, they both reunite again. Hajime became a successful person and a father of two kids. Eventually, Hajime again started getting attracted to Shimamoto, and because of that, he gets stuck into a situation where he has to choose between his wife and kid or Shimamoto.
8. The Elephant Vanishes
It is a collection of 17 short stories first it was published in magazines in 1991 and officially as a book it was published in 1993 in the English language.
Despite being stories are quite short but they are very interesting though and “Sleep” is one of them. In this story, there is a girl who didn’t sleep for 17days but she doesn’t feel like sleeping.
She spends whole nights eating chocolate, drinking alcohol, listening to songs, and drive through the city.
Her sleeplessness takes her to a parking lot where the danger is waiting for her.
9. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
This is a psychology fiction book and published in 1995. This story starts with a man named Toru and his wife Kumiko and the story of this book revolves around finding a cat.
That cat belongs to Toru’s wife Kumiko and Toru starts finding her cat. during the process of finding Kumiko’s cat many incidents take place and many characters are introduced. Overall the story is very impressive and addictive that’s why Murakami got a Literary award for this.
10. Dance Dance Dance (Novel)
It is a sequel to his 1982’s work “A Wild Sheep Chase” and this book was published in 1994. The unnamed protagonist of this story is a commercial writer and he wants to go back to a hotel where he lived once with the love of his life. The fact is that he didn’t even know her name and no details about her.
Since she disappeared the hotel is also sold to a giant company and they’ve totally chance the hotel.
After that, the protagonist experiences some strange dream like that girl and the sheep man going somewhere. The story goes on and takes many interesting turns.
11. Sputnik Sweetheart
Sputnik Sweetheart is a fiction novel and published in 1999. It is a story of two friends, the girl’s name is Sumire and the boy’s name is ‘K’. K was in love with Sumire but he didn’t ever share his feelings with her.
After sometime Sumire gets a new female friend Miu with whom she went to Greece for business purposes. Sumire and Miu live together and they get to indulge in sexual activities. But after some time, Sumire disappears, and Miu and K couldn’t find her. Over time they both get back to their normal life but one day K gets a call from Sumire.
12. After the Quake
It is a collection of six short stories and every story has its own emotion because these stories were written in reaction to japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake. Every story is somehow related to the earthquake.
“UFO in Kushiro” is one of those short stories, in which a man named Komura reaches his home after the five days of the earthquake and he sees that his wife left him. She leaves a letter saying I have been living with a “chank of air”.
13. Kafka on the Shore
Kafka on the Shore is a novel and it was published in 2002 in Japanese and in 2005 in the English language. It was on the list of “The 10 Best Books of 2005” and won several awards as well.
The plot of this book has divided into two parts and runs alternatively. The odd-numbered chapters tell the story of a 15-years-old boy named Kafka Tamura. Kafka leaves his home because of his cruel father.
The Even-numbered chapters tell the story of an uncanny disabled man Nakata. Nakata gets a part-time job because of his old age. The job he gets was a ‘cat finder’. (Murakami’s earlier book “The windup chronicle” also involves searching for a lost cat.) Finally, he finds the cat handover to the owner.
After Dark is a fiction novel published in 2004. The story of this book is about a girl Mari Asai who lives in Tokyo.
Mari and a retired female wrestler, Kaoru, who works in a Love hotel. They both trace a prostitute who had beaten by hotel staff and the purpose of that to find out about a Chinese mafia group that ‘owns’ the prostitutes.
The story takes many turns, you can just find out by reading the book.
Sourabh Sharma is a hobbyist book reader, Entrepreneur, and a literature student at Delhi University. A blog writer by day and a book reader by night, he is oathed to discuss himself in a third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.