When he wrote his first novel, Haruki Murakami confessed in a lecture, friends called to complain because the book made them want to drink beer. You have no idea how happy this made me. This wry modesty is typical of Murakami's desire to entertain, irrespective of what substance may be attached to his writing. Jay Rubin, Harvard's professor of Japanese literature, uses a similar flippancy when he characterises Murakami as "a refreshing taste of Proust Lite". Rubin is applauding his subject's agility in dealing with "the Big Questions — the meaning of life and of death, the nature of reality, the relationship of mind to time and memory and the physical world, the search for identity, the meaning of love".

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. He loves music of all kinds - jazz, classical, folk, rock - and has more than six thousand records at home. And when he writes, his words have a music all their own, much of it learned from jazz.

Jay Rubin, a self-confessed fan, has written a book for other fans who want to know more about this reclusive writer. He reveals the autobiographical elements in Murakami's fiction, and explains how he developed a distinctive new style in Japanese writing.

In tracing Murakami's career, he uses interviews he conducted with the author between and , and draws on insights and observations gathered from over ten years of collaborating with Murakami on translations of his works. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 6th by Vintage first published March 27th More Details Original Title.

Haruki Murakami. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words , please sign up. Does someone from this group have this book as a pdf? I really need it for a school project, but I can't find it.

Thanks a lot! See 1 question about Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words. Dec 18, K. Absolutely rated it liked it Shelves: criticism. Like Jay Rubin, I'm a Murakami fan.

My Murakami reading started last year when a Goodreads friend introduced him to me when I was in the hospital due to knee operation. She said that she got interested on this author when she saw a guy laughing out loud while in a bookstore holding and reading a Murakami book. I think the primary reason why Murakami is interesting is his wild imagination. Fortunately, I read some works of those authors, Murakami's influences.

That's one good thing about the guy. He is honest. He does not claim that he is an original. He could be star-struck too.

The first time he went to America, just after his A Wild Sheep Chase got noticed and published internationally, he was the one who sought to see and meet Raymond Carver and John Irving. Scott Fitzgerald, Tim O'Brien, among others. His story should also inspire many aspiring writers. He started writing short stories when he was 30 years old as he first tried his hand in running a jazz bar.

He was not yet famous when he decided to fold up and focus on writing. He gambled and followed his true passion. He wrote fervently. Night and day. He is also a type of novelist who starts with a title as opposed to let's say Ken Folett who starts with a story and an outline before thinking about the title thinks of ideas on what the story should be, sits down in front of his computer and types away until he is satisfied.

No outline whatsover. In this book, Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words , he tried to give more information about Murakami's life and art to people who do not know Japanese language. He tried to provide answers to the kinds of questions about Murakami's novels and characters.

For example, in this book, he explained about the many fascinating loose ends in Kafka on the Shore like the appearance of Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders. Many of my Goodreads friends question the relevance or roles of those characters in this Franz Kafka and Jerusalem Prizes awardee book.

Jay Rubin said that those characters are indispensable to the story. Read this book and be convinced. In other words, this book answered many questions I had while reading six of his books. As it also provides short summaries of those, I also got to review and appreciate those more. However, for those four books that I am still to read, knowing about their plots spoiled those somehow that I think I will put them in the back burner for awhile.

So here goes my advice: this is probably a good book to read after reading all Murakami books especially if you hate spoilers. Also, I am confused about the direction of this book.

It is partly biography, partly literary criticism. I thought that this could have been more meaningful and enjoyable if Rubin divided this into two giving more structure rather than fusing the two in his narratives. It felt like having no direction. Moreover, the discussion of Murakami's works jumps from one book to another. Or maybe it is just me. Maybe Jay Rubin is doing a Murakami too. View all 13 comments. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Rubin is an academic, but here he writes for a general audience in an engaging, easygoing style, in much the same way as the subject of this book does which makes sense since Rubin is one of Murakami's translators.

Rubin takes us from the start of Murakami's writing career through his short-story collection, after the quake. As he ends this book, Rubin gives 'clues' as to what Murakami is working on, and the Murakami fan now knows that it's Kafka on the Shore. F I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For those who feel Murakami writes about 'nothing,' Rubin has some revelatory passages on 'meaning', though he allows that Murakami is mostly about imagination and the rhythm of language thus the title, I suppose, and an allusion to the references to music in his work.

Murakami says his style first developed because he wanted to write but had nothing to say. I feel that may be true of his first novel, but is also somewhat disingenuous as his work seems to always at 'least' be about the individual trying to find his place in this world of chaos, a theme of many writers. I especially enjoyed hearing of Murakami's writing process. The man seems constitutionally unable to not write.

And I learned much about his 'place' in Japan. As with many of his works, he is a paradox -- both of, but even more so extremely different from his country. It's best to read this if you've already read most of the works elaborated on here. Also, be sure to read Rubin's appendix on translation and re-translation -- it's quite interesting. View all 6 comments.

Nov 09, Andrew Smith rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. That's this: if a person would just make the effort, there's something to be learned from everything. From even the most ordinary, commonplace things, there's always something you can learn. Fact is, if it weren't for that, nobody'd survive. Aug 27, Yasmeen rated it really liked it. I always wonder whether every Murakami fan in the world leads such a conflicting life.

Or at least, whether there are any who do.


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Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words

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‘Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words’ by Jay Rubin (Review)

Jay Rubin is an American academic who is well known for his translations of Japanese literature, including works by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Natsume Soseki. We follow Murakami through his less-than-stellar school days and his riot-interrupted time at university, finding out about his early marriage and his years running a jazz club along the way. He was never a typical Japanese writer, showing little interest in his native literature or culture, preferring instead to experience American novels and jazz which will come as little surprise to anyone who has read any of his books. Eventually though, he decided to try his hand at writing — and the rest, as they say, is history…. Rubin shows how Murakami was the first of a new breed of writers, one who unlike his predecessors was in tune with the new Japan:. As well as this difference in style, Murakami was also a literary outsider in other ways. He was not a member of any literary group very unusual for a Japanese author , and his books were initially frowned upon by such heavyweights as Kenzaburo Oe.

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