I'm ashamed to say that it took my moving to Japan to be introduced to the books of Haruki Murakami. I started with "Kafka on the Shore" last year during the long, snowy Sapporo winter, and couldn't put it down. For me, it's in the way he describes the settings in all his books, from the glance of a cat to a blade of grass. It's a shame I can't read them in their original Japanese, because as great as the English translation is, I'm sure some of the richness of the words gets lost in translation. And there's always a tinge of the mystical in all his stories - things that just can't be explained and leaves you thinking about it long after you've finished. Reading a Murakami book is no small feat; to truly appreciate them, you have to take your time and really soak up every word. If you don't, you might miss something.
I've now added "Norwegian Wood" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" to the list. It's hard to say which one is my favorite, although "Norwegian Wood" holds a special place in my heart. There's just something about a story of doomed young lovers that gets me every time. I was excited to hear that it was being released as a movie this past December in Japan, but also a little unsure. Would a movie truly be able to capture Murakami's words? Well, not quite, but the the settings are beautiful, and the actors are beautiful and the story's beautifully sad. What more could you want?
Not to mention the soundtrack by Johnny Greenwood is amazing.
I've just realized that it's been a couple months since I last read a good book. Guess it's time to pick up another Murakami novel from Kinokuniya...