The fall of the Roman Empire
Short work from “The elephant vanishes”
Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 but spent most of his youth in Kobe. His father was the son of a Buddhist priest. His mother was the daughter of a merchant from Osaka. They both taught Japanese literature.
Since his early years as a child Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly in terms of Western music and literature. He grew up reading everything from the works of American writers such as Vonnegut and Brautigan, to Dostoyevsky and Balzac, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers for his western influences.
Japanese literature often puts emphasis on beautiful language, which can result in stiff, restricted composition, while Murakami's style is relatively free and fluid. Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was in a record store (which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe from Norwegian Wood, wrks). Shortly after finishing his studies, Murakami opened the jazz bar "Peter Cat" in Tokyo, which he ran from 1974-1982. Many of his novels have musical themes and titles referring to a particular song, including Dance, Dance, Dance , Norwegian Wood (after the Beatles song) and South of the Border, West of the Sun (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).
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