Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers. I discovered him out of the blues while browsing a large bookshop in London back in 2000. There was a specially bound edition of Norwegian Wood that looked like a bento box with two little books, the size people read on the Tokyo metro. I took those books with me on a trip to Italy and got so immersed in the story that now, every time I remember the characters or just by seeing the books at home, I get transported back to those balmy days in the Italian coast.
His writing has the power to take me to Japan and to feel like a little observer of the character’s lives. Some books I liked better than others. My favorite so far being 1Q84 that took years to get an English translation. By reading Murakami, I feel connected to Japan’s pop culture and to what the Japanese are also reading. The music, the atmosphere, everything gets tangled up in my mind and take me to Japan while flicking through the pages.
Even his non-fiction writing pleases me, like his book about running and his texts about the time he had a jazz bar. Last but not least, there was one book I hated, the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.