Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami

I always find it interesting to read writers (or rather artists in general) autobiographies and thoughts on their own craft, so when I saw that Haruki Murakami’s Novelist as a Vocation was getting an English translation I knew I had to read it. The book is a series of essays that Murakami wrote about his thoughts on writers and novels. Some of them were serialised in a magazine in Japan, and the collection was released in 2015 in Japanese, before getting an English translation in 2022.

Whether you’re a writer or just a big read that’s interested in the writing process, this is definitely worth reading. It’s insightful, and written in a really conversational way. Even if the book isn’t an autobiography throughout the essays it feels like you know Murakami, even just a little bit. It’s like listening to him in person talking about his style and thoughts on writing.

I really enjoyed reading the way he approaches writing and it’s very different to other books I’ve read on the subject. He seems to take a much more relaxed way to prepare for a novel, letting it grow inside of his mind until the compulsion to write it unbearable and then he goes on a very strict routine in order to get the work done, writing the same amount of words a day until the book is done no matter how long that takes.

It’s also very inspiring to see how he came to be a writer, not only was he nearing thirty the first time he thought about writing a novel, when he finished his first draft he didn’t like it. The idea that getting the story finished, even if it’s no good, because it can always be improved is a great motivation to actually sit down and start writing.

Inside these pages isn’t the secret to writing a novel. It’s not a how-to guide. It’s simply Murakami’s reflection on his career from literary prizes to his daily routine. He openly admits this isn’t the only right way to write. It’s very interesting to read and I found it very motivating. After reading an essay I would be immediately filled with creative energy and want to start writing my own stories. It definitely made me want to read more of Murakami’s work.

Thanks for reading!

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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2 Responses to Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami

  1. It sounds like an interesting read. It’s going straight to my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

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