Arts, Culture & Media

Japanese novelist inspires fervent following

If you go to Marakami's website, you'll hear an electronic soundtrack. The longer you listen to it, the music becomes memorizing and finally comforting, not unlike Marakami's writing. This month Marakami visited the U.S. and spoke before two audiences, in New York and California, with no cameras or tape recorders. The California speech is sold out. Some people are so spellbound by his writing that they try and fail to track him down in Japan. The world of Marakami is not typically Japanese, and his prose is not flashy, but it is littered with English words, some English grammar, which makes his books difficult for older people in Japan to read. That doesn't mean he's read any less in Japan. Marakami connects with his audience by starting a new website for each book he releases, participating in Q&A sessions online. He answers a wide range of questions. This analyst says Marakami feels protective of his readers. Marakami writes about loneliness a lot, but Marakami's lonely world is warmer and he often shows affection for his protagonists. Now as his fanbase outside of Japan grows, the obsession with Marakami the person grows as well.

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