Best 5 Haruki Murakami Books to Start With

Reading Murakami is like reading a long poem, there is no clear answer but a beautiful story to fall in love with.

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer yet the whole world finds an innate relationship with his books. His literary work marks his clever use of surrealism, but more than that, he is loved at every corner of the world for the way his books sound like a long tapestry of poems exploring a gallery of intimate yet ethereal feelings, which we are familiar with.

Haruki Murakami has authored over twenty books including fiction and nonfiction, navigating through different genres yet his books mainly consist of one major theme; the pining loneliness of every man, a sense of yearning for love, and an eternal quest of coming to terms with the loss of youth.

It is said that Murakami can’t be read in isolation with a single book. You must make your way through the topiary of his visionary world to get the immersive knowledge.

To get you started in the world of Murakami, we have selected the best 5 books for you to dive in.

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood doesn’t have magic realism or confusing imagery. What it offers instead, is a rather poignant story of love and loss, a young man’s coming of age tale where he tries to make his way through the woody roads of adulthood. He is haunted by his yearning for love which is lost and never found. Murakami surely knows how to catalog honest feelings with beautiful clarity.

Men Without Women

If you like short stories more, pick up this beautiful collection of seven short stories. Men Without Women lets you visit the microcosmos of Murakami’s artistry. The stories are all different from each other yet connected by the theme of lonely hearts, vanishing cats, Beatles, and barbed wires of mind.

Hear the Wind Sing/ Pinball 1973

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 are the earliest novellas of Murakami yet they are as Murakami-esque as it can be. The first one is a story of an unnamed protagonist, drifting through life while encountering mysterious women. The second one is a sequel where the unnamed protagonist has a translation company but his strange experiences haven’t left his life just yet.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Murakami’s work of nonfiction, a memoir dedicated to his story of running a life-long marathon is one of the most inspiring books that you can come across. His idea of achievements is portrayed through stories of little triumphs and joy. His account of physical pain is acutely accurate. He rightly says,

There are things that only runners understand.”

Kafka on the Shore

This Murakami masterpiece, a metaphysical mind-bender of weird imageries gives you two parallel stories full of dream-like reality, hungover nostalgia, and mystic occurrences. Two converging plots of a fifteen-year-old boy and an old man’s encounter with talking cats continue without finding a center, quite like life itself. As Murakami says,

“and once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

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