Japanese Novelist Claims Literary Roots in America
Despite healthy sales, Japan's literary establishment looks down it's nose at Haruki Murakami, citing his baldly direct prose, which contradicts the accepted writing style. "There was a notion in Japan that novelists write in a certain style. I totally ignored it and created a new style. Therefore, in Japan, there was resistance. I was much criticized," he tells the New York Times Book Review. Another wedge between Murakami and his literary compatriots are his cultural references, which are mostly American. His latest novel, Kafka on the Shore, boasts characters called Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders. Murakami spent his formative years studying English and reading American novelists exclusively, because he considered Japanese literature "boring." Murakami is heading to Cambridge to become writer-in-residence at Harvard for a year, and hopes to gain some recognition from the country that has inspired him. A film based on one of his short stories, "Tony Takitani" opens July 29.