Haruki Murakami

6 Authors to Check out If You Need More Haruki Murakami

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



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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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