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Haruki Murakami , High Weirdness

Par Oliver Burkeman - 10 mn

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People tell Haruki Murakami his books are strange. But, he says, we have to experience the weird to make a better world.

The day before we meet in Manhattan, a woman stopped Haruki Murakami in Central Park, where he had come for his late-morning run. “Excuse me,” she said, “but aren’t you a very famous Japanese novelist?” A faintly odd way of putting the question, but Murakami responded in his usual equable manner. “I said ‘No, really I’m just a writer. But still, it’s nice to meet you!’ And then we shook hands. When people stop me like that, I feel very strange, because I’m just an ordinary guy. I don’t really understand why people want to meet me.”

It would be a mistake to interpret this as false modesty, but equally wrong to see it as genuine dis comfort with fame: so far as it’s possible to tell, the 69-year-old Murakami neither relishes nor dislikes his global celebrity. His outlook, instead, is that of a curious if slightly bemused spectator – both of the surreal stories th...