The Only Thing I Envy Men is an essay about women writers by Rivka Galchen, taken from her book Little Labors. The book focuses partly on writing by Japanese women, especially the 11th Century writers Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu, authors of The Pillow Book and Tale of Genji respectively. The latter has recently been retranslated, and was the subject of a lengthy article in the New Yorker by Ian Buruma.
Racing to Checkpoint Charlie – my memories of the Berlin Wall by Haruki Murakami [The Guardian] The Japanese novelist on why the fall of the Berlin wall has such resonance with his novels.
Deep Chords: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’ [New York Times] Patti Smith reviews Haruki Murakami's latest novel. Book Trailer
In 1985, the Mystery Writers of Japan (plus "508 people who love mystery novels") assembled two separate lists of the 100 best mystery novels: one each for the books of the East and West. A revised list came out in 2012. Both Western lists are remarkable for their comparative lack of overlap with the "100 best" lists produced by the American and British mystery writers associations. The Eastern lists are remarkable for the fact that fewer than a quarter of their entries have been translated into English. [more inside]
[Contemporary Okinawan author] Medoruma cuts an odd figure. He plays the recluse but is also an angry writer, powerful and loquacious. His work is at times beautiful, and at others horrifying, often in quick succession…
"You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive."
In Search of Haruki Murakami, Japan’s Great Postmodernist Novelist, a 50 minute documentary exploring Murakami's Japan and culture. via.
Haruki Murakami talks about fiction in the 21st century. Part of the International Herald Tribune Magazine's year-end issue, 2011: Global Agenda. [more inside]
Haruki Murakami is one of Japan's most widely translated authors, yet he still answers his readers emails. He has compared the process of writing to simultaneously designing and playing a video game. He is sometimes dismissed as a pop-writer, but the fifty-something's life and works have already garnered him a critical autobiography. He has investigated and written about the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks for his book, Underground. His novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, transcends elements of both cyberpunk and detective fiction through a combination of surreal allegory and an almost stoic immediacy. It all begins with the impossibly slow ascent of an elevator.