Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949, Haruki Murakami grew up in Kobe and now lives near Tokyo. The most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe. His work has been translated into moer than fifty languages.
From The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to the recent Norwegian Wood, Japanese author Murakami has found uncommon success on these shores. His latest concerns a young man's love for an inaccessible young woman who disappearsDbut not before leading readers on a wild goose chase through the universe. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Murakami's seventh novel to be translated into English is a short, enigmatic chronicle of unrequited desire involving three acquaintances the narrator, a 24-year-old Tokyo schoolteacher; his friend Sumire, an erratic, dreamy writer who idolizes Jack Kerouac; and Miu, a beautiful married businesswoman with a secret in her past so harrowing it has turned her hair snowy white. When Sumire abandons her writing for life as an assistant to Miu and later disappears while the two are vacationing on a Greek island, the narrator/teacher travels across the world to help find her. Once on the island, he discovers Sumire has written two stories: one explaining the extent of her longing for Miu; the second revealing the secret from Miu's past that bleached her hair and prevents her from getting close to anyone. All of the characters suffer from bouts of existential despair, and in the end, back in Tokyo, having lost both of his potential saviors and deciding to end a loveless affair with a student's mother, the narrator laments his loneliness. Though the story is almost stark in its simplicity more like Murakami's romantic Norwegian Wood than his surreal Wind-Up Bird Chronicles the careful intimacy of the protagonists' conversation and their tightly controlled passion for each other make this slim book worthwhile. Like a Zen koan, Murakami's tale of the search for human connection asks only questions, offers no answers and must be meditated upon to provide meaning. (Apr. 30) Forecast: Long the secret delight of connoisseurs, Murakami has been steadily and quietly acquiring a wider readership. His latest offering breaks no new ground but is packaged in a striking manner and should attract a few newcomers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Grabs you from its opening lines. . . . [Murakami's] never written
anything more openly emotional." -Los Angeles Magazine
"Murakami is a genius." -Chicago Tribune
"Murakami has an unmatched gift for turning psychological metaphors into uncanny narratives." -The New York Times Book Review
"An agonizing, sweet story about the power and the pain of love. . . . Immensely deepened by perfect little images that leave much to be filled in by the reader's heart or eye." -The Baltimore Sun
"[Murakami belongs] in the topmost rank of writers of international stature." -Newsday
"Murakami's true achievement lies in the humor and vision he brings to even the most despairing moments." -The New Yorker
"Perhaps better than any contemporary writer, [Murakami] captures and lays bare the raw human emotion of longing." -BookPage
"Murakami . . . has a deep interest in the alienation of self, which lifts [Sputnik Sweetheart] into both fantasy and philosophy." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Not just a great Japanese writer but a great writer, period." -Los Angeles Times Book Review