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Haruki Murakami

6 Authors to Check out If You Need More Haruki Murakami

Because who can get enough?

Haruki Murakami can be summed up in a million different ways. There are so many different ways to characterize him that he essentially eschews characterization. Boiling Murakami’s writing down to one set of traits is pointless. He’s surrealistic even when there is nothing surreal happening. He’s equal parts vicious and gentle. He’s descriptive but uses simple words. He’s poetic without being wordy. He always manages to do two things at once.

 

Here are the writers you should be reading if you like Murakami. Not because they are Murakami 2.0, but because they share some undefinable link. There’s some strand of DNA these writers share with Murakami. Please read them.

 

1. Vladimir Nabokov

 

Nabokov’s sincerely strange. Whether it’s Lolita or the topsy-turvy Despair, Nabokov challenges readers to see the world with his bizarre eyeballs. Though strange, his stories never fail to be enormously empathetic to their impossibly quirky characters. Nabokov’s a classic, but a must for Murakami aficionados.

 

Recommended reading: Despair

 

Despair

Image Via Amazon

 

2. Franz Kafka

 

Kafka may be the writer most directly Murakami-esque. Delightfully, irreverently surreal and not just when it comes to things like men turning into bugs. Though some of Murakami’s writing does feature physical oddities, a lot of his surrealism boils down to people acting upon odd impulses. Kafka is the same.

 

Recommended reading: The Trial

 

The Trial

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3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

One of the things Murakami writes about so elegantly is multiculturalism and Westernization. Adichie does too. Her stories are filled with separations, reunions, and profound realizations about one’s culture. Though Adichie mostly covers African countries in her writing, she deals with similar themes as Murakami in some of his work, particularly in his short fiction.

 

Recommended reading: The Thing Around Your Neck

 

The Thing Around Your Neck

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4. Milan Kundera

 

As far as experimentation goes, Kundera is royalty. His novels often blend fiction and nonfiction in hilariously profound ways. One chapter may be describing a man’s wonky love affair, and the next will be Kundera describing how he came up with that character. He’s funny, touching, insightful, and always unexpected. Just like Murakami.

 

Recommended reading: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

 

book laughter

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5. Christos Ikonomou

 

Though his may not be a recognizable name, Ikonomou is one of Greece’s champion writers. Like Murakami, Ikonomou reinvents the ordinary person has a tragic hero. Their struggles are more about putting something in their stomach than, you know, doing anything of macro consequence. There’s a hill in their mind they have to climb. Same as Murakami. Plus, Ikonomou is a sincerely killer writer.

 

Recommended reading: Something Will Happen, You’ll See

 

Something Will Happen, You'll See

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6. Lorrie Moore

 

Lorrie Moore is basically just essential reading for any right-thinking person living on our planet. She’s funny, witty, and intensely emotional. She never resorts to cliches. What she isn’t is surrealistic. But there are still enough similarities between the way Moore constructs characters and the way Murakami does. Basically, just read Moore.

 

Recommended reading: Birds of America

 

Birds of America

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Feature Image via Vulture