For those readers out there, another one of the world’s current great authors, Haruki Murakami, also has a new book out. It’s called Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. My favorite three books of his are probably Kafka On the Shore, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I think that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is probably his masterpiece, but Kafka On the Shore is probably the best place to start as it is more accessible.
For anyone that has seen a David Lynch movie, Murakami has the same sense of the uncanny that Lynch has. He has the ability to make the everyday seem strange and haunting.
I spent time in Japan last year and I have been interested in their culture for a long time. After going there I read a little bit about their culture. Because they have stricter rules than us concerning personal interaction they are more comfortable with ambiguity. There is a certain amount of ambiguity and abstraction even built into their language. Often what is meant is inferred by body language and facial expression, instead of being overtly expressed. I’ve commented before that this plays a role in their art. If you watch any movies that are wildly popular in Japan, they will seem much more surreal than our popular entertainment. Anyone that has seen movies like Spirited Away can attest to that. Murakami’s work, although it can be extremely realistic at times, also has many moments of this surrealism as well.
I love art that has a certain dream logic to it, as I often see the world as being dreamlike. If this is something you find yourself drawn to then I highly recommend that you check out Murakami’s work.