16 best books by Haruki Murakami

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Tokyo postmodern writer Haruko Murakami is one of the most popular and sought-after authors in modern literature, his books are translated into 50 languages ​​and sold in large editions around the world. The online magazine presents a ranking of 16 of Haruki Murakami's best books – be sure to add them to your reading list and appreciate the scale of the experience!

Rating of the best books by Haruki Murakami

Nomination a place Name of product rating
Rating of the best books by Haruki Murakami 1 Wonderland without brakes and the end of the world (1985) 4.9
2 Sheep hunting (1982) 4.8
3 The Clockwork Bird Chronicle (1995) 4.8
4 Norwegian forest (1987) 4.8
5 Listen to the song of the wind (1979, 1983) 4.7
6 Dance, dance, dance (1988) 4.7
7 What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2007) 4.6
8 Pinball 1973 (1980) 4.6
9 South of the border, west of the sun (1992) 4.5
10 My Favorite Sputnik (1999) 4.5
11 Good day for a kangaroo (1986) 4.5
12 Subway (1997) 4.5
13 Kafka on the Beach (2002) 4.5
14 Colorless Tskuru Tazaki and the years of his wanderings (2013) 4.4
15 After Darkness (2004-2005) 4.4
16 Tokyo Legends 4.4.

Wonderland without brakes and the end of the world (1985)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.9

Wonderland without brakes and the end of the world

The leader of the audience's sympathy is the novel 'Wonderland without brakes and the End of the World'. When creating the work, Haruki Murakami used an unusual technique – alternating chapters with parallel storylines: even – about Wonderland without brakes, odd – about the End of the World. According to the author, these stories were written with the work of different hemispheres of the brain, which filled the text of a completely different plan with deep thoughts and reasoning.

In 'Wonderland' we are talking about a person who owns the technique of working with the subconscious. The story of the 'End of the World' is based on the previously written story 'City with a ghostly wall' with an orientation to consciousness, the author tells about a mysterious, walled city, all residents have no shadows. The hero of this city gets a job in the library, where he must read dreams in the skulls of dead unicorns. It's absurd at first glance, but Murakami masterfully leads all the descriptions, interests the reader and at the end weaves both lines.

The main task of the novel is to guide the discussion about the subconscious and consciousness, about whether there is a soul, what a personal concept is. The narrative is filled with interesting descriptions that completely transfer the reader to a parallel book world.

Sheep hunting (1982)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.8

Sheep hunting (1982)

On the second line of the rating is the novel Sheep Hunt, the third in the Rat Trilogy. The author again plunges the reader into reasoning about the Soul, its purpose and possibilities.

The plot is based on the ancient legend of the Japanese about a sheep, whose soul transmigrates into people and, in their guise, tries to establish chaos, disorder and anarchy on the earth. In the novel, the role of the 'victim' is first played by a professor, then a lonely, introverted person, prone to self-delusion. How can such a person try to violate the established order? The fact is that the sheep's soul endows the 'carrier' with unlimited abilities, so the descendant of an impoverished peasant still becomes the leader of a large Organization. But having squeezed all the juices out of it, the Soul finds itself a third victim – a person who realized what would happen to him and where the wind was blowing from. The book contains mysticism and unusual connections, which are difficult for many to believe.

The book 'Sheep Hunt' is quite freely perceived as a separate novel with a separate plot, despite belonging to the Trilogy. The author's fantasy is striking, who, by the way, claims that he has no idea what the book is about, leaving speculation and conclusions to the reader's judgment.

The Clockwork Bird Chronicle (1995)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.8

The Clockwork Bird Chronicle (1995)

The third-ranked novel, The Clockwork Bird Chronicle, is the story of a man named Tooru Okada. He leads a measured life, and then leaves work, after which he lives on the savings and earnings of his wife Kumiko. Once misfortunes begin to happen to the hero: the cat disappeared, then the wife – by the way, she fell under the influence of a pervert brother who embodies evil in the novel. In the course of the development of the plot, Tohru gets acquainted with psychics who first help the hero find the cat, and then reveal the secrets of the clairvoyant business for the man.

The novel is written in an interesting language peculiar to Murakami, the author used a lot of extrasensory perception in the narrative, the plot is intriguing and bewitching. This mystical literary thriller shows the realities of the modern life of a man in a world where sex plays one of the first roles. The plot is intertwined with the history of Japan in the early 20th century.

Haruki Murakami, in his own style, is fond of fantasies, which, inside a good story, seems strange to some readers. For this he is loved by connoisseurs of literature around the world.

Norwegian forest (1987)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.8

Norwegian forest (1987)

It is unusual to read about the forests of Norway in a Japanese novel, but there are virtually no descriptions of nature in Haruki Murakami's novel. At the head of the story is an autobiography, which the writer does not confirm, but does not refute either.

In the center of the plot is the Japanese Watanabe, who moved to Hamburg. Under the songs of the group 'The Beatles', he recalls his student years and friends, one of whom, having died, changes the worldview of the protagonist, like his girlfriend Naoko. Over time, young people began to communicate very closely, but the complex nature of the girl stops Watanabe and he finds a new girlfriend. This does not prevent him from communicating with his former passion and having fun with a friend. Here the hero realizes that something is wrong in his soul, but continues to get carried away with new girlfriends.

Throughout the novel, the author shows the development of Watanabe's relationship with two fundamentally different girls – Naoko, a difficult and traumatized psychologically, and a cheerful Midori. The 'forest' probably means a complex and confusing story, full of memories, losses, different quality of emotions. By the way, a lot of attention is paid to the topic of suicide. For Japanese and Europeans, it is perceived somewhat differently; not everyone can agree with the author.

Listen to the song of the wind (1979, 1983)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.7

Listen to the song of the wind (1979, 1983)

Hear the Wind Song was the first novel in the Rat Trilogy. Murakami wrote it in 1979, then reissued it with revisions in 1983, and this version gained wide popularity.

It is difficult to determine the plot line – in the narration there is a lot of reasoning, descriptions of different stories, the image of the main character of the Rat is laid here and the prerequisites for the development of action in subsequent novels arise – the second part called 'Ponball 1973' and the third, previously mentioned book 'The Sheep Hunt'.

Why Do Readers Love Hear the Wind Chime? The author has a light syllable and simple presentation – this was one of the prerequisites for creating a book – one day Murakami realized that he was able to create an 'ideal' text. To some, the narration will seem boring, but in general, when you get to know it, you can relax well and plunge into the bliss of your own thoughts about life.

Dance, dance, dance (1988)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.7

Dance, dance, dance

We have already mentioned the Rat trilogy, but in the series there are not three, but four novels, the final one is 'Dance Dance'. The book tells about the events that happened a few years after the action in the 'Hunt for the Sheep'. In the center of the plot is a resettled man who, after the previously described maneuvers of life, is trying to find himself again in a world cluttered with the ideas of capitalism. 'Dance, dance, dance' is the advice of the Sheep man, an attempt to instill in the hero's head something that has not yet been completely erased from his subconscious. In the second half of the novel, the hero re-learns to interpret the signs of fate and analyze the events around him.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2007)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.6

What am I talking about when I talk about running

In the center of the novel 'What am I talking about when I talk about running' – running and the author's reasoning about it. This is a book of memories, almost a biography of Haruki Murakami, these are descriptions of real races for short and long distances, marathons and ultramarathons. The writer manages to compare the running and the work of writers, and this turns out to be masterly and unexpectedly understandable.

The book is not about a healthy lifestyle, but about preparing for competitions and overcoming different distances. Each chapter was created at a different time, these are separate stories, almost unrelated to one plot. According to Murakami, the book is dedicated to the runners of the Earth of all times and peoples.

The novel is popular in many countries. It’s strange that Haruki didn’t write it earlier, because during his next run he realized that he would end his managerial career and become a writer.

Pinball 1973 (1980)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.6

Pinball 1973

The second novel of the Rat Trilogy, Pinball 1973, is the work of early Haruki Murakami. In the center of the plot, the main character is the Rat, who left the metropolis. Twins, who are fond of paintball, settle in his house, subsequently infecting the protagonist of the novel with this love.

The hero sets out to find and purchase an antique 'Rocket' machine (slot machine) and finds it from a collector of paintball machines.

The plot is interesting and captivating, like all the works of the author, there are vivid descriptions of people and objects, phenomena. Murakami draws attention to the non-standard arrangement of the world and things. For example, we know that everything has an entrance and an exit, this is how things around are arranged, but not a mousetrap …

South of the border, west of the sun (1992)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.5

South of the border, west of the sun

The ninth-highest novel, South of the Border, West of the Sun, is considered by reviewers to be one of the most poignant among the works of Haruki Murakami.

The focus of attention is Hajime, who grew up as the only child in the family, in what way he differed from his peers – it is known that in Japan families were large. He was prejudiced and the boy felt it. Until such a different girl Shimamoto appeared in his life. It was a happy friendship, which eventually grew into youthful love. But life takes a turn, and the heroes disperse, now they live in different cities and lose touch. Hajime becomes a successful entrepreneur, he has a family, life goes on like clockwork. But here fate again brings the hero back to the once beloved and still unforgotten Simamoto. It is not surprising that the flame flares up with renewed vigor, but will the heroes be able to warm from this fire and keep it?

The novel 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' is written shrilly, the plot is intriguing, because the ending is simply impossible to predict. The work receives a lot of recommendatory reviews from readers and reviewers.

My Favorite Sputnik (1999)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.5

My favorite sputnik

The book 'My Favorite Sputnik', according to the author, tells about unusual things that happen to normal people.

The story is centered around Surime – the primary school teacher is in love with her, and she pays attention to another woman – Muu, she is much older than Surime. She loves a young talent, but does not feel sexual attraction to her, which hurts the young writer, who, in turn, wants to completely merge with the object of her adoration.

During a trip to a Greek island from Muyu, Surime disappears. K. (without a name) joins the search, he encounters the world of visions and even the 'split' of Muu. Surime returns, she manages to find herself.

Sputnik is a subtle metaphor that personifies a person, as if inertly flying through his life, constantly staying near the object of his desire and love. There is a lot of unrequited in this novel, the heroes constantly encounter dead ends of feelings and try to get out of them.

Good day for a kangaroo (1986)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.5

Nice day for kangaroo

The first-ever collection of short stories, 'A Good Day for a Kangaroo', is especially appealing to fans of short stories suitable for reading on the road or on a short weekend. In the Murakami collection, this format is still an exception, but very successful.

The book contains stories about such characters as a kangaroo-composer, in another work the author describes the story of a one hundred percent girl, an intriguing vampire in a taxi, the already famous hero Sheep man and other complete independent stories that can be indirectly traced in the novels of Haruki Murakami. The Japanese writer created a collection at the dawn of his work, and yet the works included in it are as soulful and interesting as later novels, leaving a train of thought over the meaning of life and its individual aspects.

Subway (1997)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.5

Subway (1997)

Subway is a documentary based on the 1995 Tokyo subway tragedy, commissioned by the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist group or sect. The author describes the life stories of 62 eyewitnesses to the sarin attack.

The story of the writing of the novel is interesting. The author and his team communicated with the responding witnesses to the attack throughout 1996, from January to December. All interviews were recorded on tape, then structured and printed. In the last chapter, Murakami shares with the readers his own experiences, feelings and emotions, tells where he was at that time, reveals the essence of the Aum Shinrikyo sect – many Japanese simply did not understand the danger of this organization.

The decoration of real events and the views of eyewitnesses to them will interest the reader sympathetic to the documentary genre. 'Subway' is one of the few works by Haruki Murakami, not supplemented by fantasy and ambiguous speculations and assumptions.

Kafka on the Beach (2002)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.5

Kafka on the beach

Murakami's ninth novel, Kafka on the Beach, became a world bestseller, appeared in the top ten novels in the world in 2005 according to the American newspaper The New York Times and was awarded the World Fantasy Award.

The plot is built around two characters – Kafka Tamura and the old man Nakata. The fate of both is significantly influenced by prophecies, representatives of the otherworldly parallel world – and the action takes place in the second half of the 20th century.

A 15-year-old boy runs away from home due to constant disagreements with his father, the reason is a father's prophecy, similar to the myth of Epis, which says: the heir will live with his mother and kill his father. The young man leaves for the city of Takamatsu, takes the pseudonym Kafka. He meets Saeki-san and falls in love with her, although he considers her to be his mother, and Sakura accepts as his sister.

At a young age, the old man Nakata witnesses the landing of an alien ship, after which he discovers paranormal abilities in himself, but he also mentally stopped developing, became noticeably backward compared to his peers. Now he knows how to communicate with cats, which helps him to make a living, helping in the search for four-legged on the streets of the city. The fates of the heroes intersect in an unexpected way: Nakata kills Kafka's father, but after this event, the latter has his father's blood on his T-shirt. Thus, the prophecy did come true.

In the novel, reality intersects with parallel worlds, a city without time, where dead people live, the author reopens the question of finding his own path and reading signs.

Colorless Tskuru Tazaki and the years of his wanderings (2013)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.4

Colorless Tskuru Tazaki and the years of his wanderings

Tskuru Tazaki was once a reckless student surrounded by friends with 'colored' names. In the second year of study at the university, his closest comrades suddenly turn away from the hero, without giving any explanation. Tskuru suddenly closes in, becomes 'colorless' and believes that he is doomed to loneliness.

16 years pass. Tskuru Tazaki is a successful engineer, but through the entire novel there is a trail of blues, nostalgia and isolation that arose after a turning point with friends. Sarah's new friend invites Tskuru to find these same friends and find out what happened then, in the second year of study? From this moment, the protagonist's journey to Nagoya, Finland begins. Will he find those he is looking for? Will you get answers to your questions?

After Darkness (2004-2005)

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.4

After dark

The penultimate novel in the ranking 'After Darkness'. The plot develops between sleep and reality, while the action of the work fits into the framework of one night. Marie, a 19-year-old student, reads a book in a cafe at night. Takahashi plays the trombone. He knows Eri, Marie's sister, who is in a coma (deep sleep). Marie's fate comes in contact with the life of a woman administrator in a love hotel, beaten and robbed by a Chinese prostitute and a sadist in the person of a computer expert. All destinies are intertwined, some have goals, others have a life of inertia.

After Darkness is a visual aid to how completely different people live next to each other.

Tokyo Legends

Book Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4.4

Tokyo Legends

Another collection of short stories from Haruki Murakami 'Tokyo Legends' concludes the rating. This is truly a collection of urban Japanese legends, colorfully revealed by the author on the pages of the book. A surfer who has died from shark teeth wandering along the beaches, the father of the family who disappeared between the 26th and 24th floors, an unusual stone in the form of a kidney with his own intentions, a monkey hunting for the names of strangers.

In the work of Haruko, the already terrible legends literally come to life, make the reader goosebumps. “Tokyo Legends” will be appreciated by lovers of mysticism.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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