Haruki Murakami’s new book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage was recently released to wide acclaim. Murakami is not only recognized as one of the greatest writers of his generation, but also one of the most unique. To the dismay of Japanese literary critics, Murakami has been strongly influenced by several Western writers including Raymond Carver, J.D. Salinger, Franz Kafka, and Kurt Vonnegut. Despite his Western influences, Murakami’s books are still strongly influenced by his Japanese heritage. Matthew Carl Strecher argues that while Murakami is a Japanese author, “he is also a global one” whose works should be seen as “as examinations of questions that concern all humanity.”
Ranking Murakami’s books is a foolhardy task. Even the worst Murakami book (if there is such a thing) is better than most authors’ best book. In other words, it is almost impossible to go wrong when you pick up one of his books.
Here’s our rankings:
11. Pinball, 1973
Here’s the link to the Publishers Weekly Rankings of Murakami’s books by Matthew Carl Strecher who has written several books on Murakami, Dances with Sheep: The Quest for Identity in the Fiction of Haruki Murakami, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Reader’s Guide, and the upcoming The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami. Slate also has an article where they recommend the five Murakami books you should read first.