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Haruki Murakami and His Early Work first discusses Murakami Haruki's real-life activities and interests, such as his self-identity as a Japanese novelist, his position in the Japanese literary canon, music, translation and running. In this context, three short stories as pivotal to his early writing career are examined, including "The Second Bakery Attack," "The Elephant Vanishes," and "TV People." Written in an easy style to read, and with the content full of references to select contemporary popular culture and consumer products, his fiction in general tends to invite criticism of irrelevance and frivolity. Against their nonsensical, even humorous appearance, however, the book's close analysis reveals his persistent concern with the plight of today's humanity in postindustrial reality. Through the bewildering stories, Murakami delivers a covert critique of aspects of the sociopolitical system, including unbridled consumerism, relentless pursuit of efficiency, and electronic media saturation, that brings people into total submission without their realization of the plight in which they are placed. In this respect, these short stories rival his acclaimed novels while showing his essential concerns and literary creativity more succinctly.
About the Author
Masaki Mori is associate professor and head of the department of comparative literature and intercultural studies at the University of Georgia.