Novelist as A Vacation
Philip Gabriel (Translator),
Ted Goossen (Translator)
Penguin Randon House
Thoughts and advice on the creative writing process from an international master of literature.
In this book Haruki Murakami explores his craft. He muses upon the qualities a novelist needs such as endurance and delight in the process as well as laying out his own methods. He covers topics such as originality, finding your own style, creating characters and links between literature, music and art. He also talks about his own life experiences and how they have influenced his work and his relationship with the Japanese literary establishment. He discusses education, the importance of reading, his literary influences and his path to success and the way he balances physical and intellectual work in his life. Wise and enlightening, this is a window into the world of an unique writer.
Imagine you sitting in big cosy armchair, opposite you in the famous writer, Haruki Murakami. Perhaps it is after dinner, you are both feeling comfortable and relaxed, you have, after all spent some time that evening around the table getting to know one another during a superb four course meal. Relaxed, you sit opposite one another and conversation begins or maybe continues. This is the book you now have in front of you – conversations, musings, reflections.
I found it entertaining, engaging and surprising, unpretentious.
A stand out reflection for me was ” I have a standard answer when interviewers ask me about literary prizes – this question invariably comes up, whether in Japan or abroad. ‘The most important thing,’ I tell them, ‘is good readers. Nothing means as much as much as the people who dip into their pockets to buy my books – not prizes or medals or critical praise.’ I repeat this answer over and over ad nauseum, yet it doesn’t seem to sink in. Most often it is completely ignored.” pps 44-45. Did I mention humility?
I enjoyed this conversation with Murakami.