Murakami: Bestselling writer of the Japanese absurd

By Shingo Ito

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Interesting fellow, above-average essayist, mediocre novelist. Every time I hear the name of this highly overrated writer mentioned as a possible Nobel winner, I feel somewhat sick to my stomach. Toni Morrison . . . Gabriel Garcia Marquez . . . Isaac Singer . . . Saul Bellow . . . Beckett . . . Kawabata . . . Hemingway . . . Steinbeck and Haruki Murakami???

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Every age has its writer, Murakami is the one of the 21st century with its problems of society. Louis de Berniere's Birds without Wings deserves that prize too though. Looking forward to reading this book once the price has gone down.

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Agreed, ben4short. I've been a reader of his since his debut in English, and I enjoy his writing for the most part, but it's certainly not Nobel level. I think of his books as commuting fare, since it doesn't matter where you leave it off or how many of the fascinating threads you remember: they weren't going far anyhow. I don't say this is a bad thing, or that he's a bad writer, but I certainly don't think he's a great writer.

His Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech lambasting Israel only proves to me that he has little understanding of larger plots.

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Ben, please take the time to read the reasons why the Swedish academy awarded the writers you mentioned with a Nobel in Literature and you will understand why Murakami will be accepting a Nobel in Literature.

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hachi, thanks for the suggestion, but I really don't need to read anything put out by the academy. I know great writers when I read them -- the vastness and humanity of their souls, the scope of their imaginative and narrative powers -- and it should be clear to any intelligent reader that Murakami is simply not in the same league. Vonnegut, Brautigan and other gimmicky writers yes . . . heavyweights like Bellow, Marquez, Faulkner no.

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I knew I should have written "you might understand"

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hachi, wouldn't it be easier if you explained to me (and others) what makes HM such a great writer in your opinion?

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Vonnegut, Brautigan and other gimmicky writers yes . . . heavyweights like Bellow, Marquez, Faulkner no.

Wow, you lost me with the "Vonnegut" comment.

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