Novelist as a Vocation
Haruki Murakami ranks among the best known contemporary Japanese authors. In more than 30 years, he has written 14 novels, a number of nonfiction works and countless short stories and essays, many of which were translated into dozens of languages. Despite his status as an international celebrity, Murakami stays mostly out of the limelight, preferring to write books rather than giving interviews.
This book is a collection of 11 essays in which he talks about his path as an author. He explains his views on writing, his audience, literary prizes, and the relationship between mental and physical fitness when it comes to write books. Although some essays have titles like “On Originality”, “What to write about”, or “What characters do I put on stage”, these are not manuals on how to write but rather detail how Murakami himself approaches the craft.
I have read this book a few years ago in a German translation (Von Beruf Schriftsteller). While I like Murakami in general, that translation doesn’t read very well. He used a lot of “in my view” and “in my opinion” hedging, which may be expected by a Japanese audience, but to me, it seemed a bit arrogant at times. I wonder if the English translation suffers from the same problem. However, if you’re interested in a (partial) autobiography of one of the world’s best-selling authors, you should definitely read this one.
Even if you’re not a writer, this one is interesting if you like Murakami. Get the book from amazon.