Is Haruki Murakami Hollywood's new Philip K. Dick?

Illustration for article titled Is Haruki Murakami Hollywoods new Philip K. Dick?

We've been wondering for a long time which author could replace Philip K. Dick as Hollywood's idea spigot. But now a strong candidate has emerged: Haruki Murakami, the Japanese master of weirdness who's already spawned two movies.

If you're looking for a Dickian storyteller who's got the pedigree to spawn some thought-provokingly weird movies, you don't have to look much further than Murakami, whose novels often include mysterious conspiracies, fantastical plot devices and alternate universes. Just like in many Dick's best books, Murakami's stories never entirely make sense, but they haunt you all the more for that. In particular, books like Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and A Wild Sheep Chase feel particularly Dickian in a literary way.


Two different movies based on Murakami's work are coming soon, although neither of them is overtly fantastical. Norwegian Wood, based on Murakami's novel about a love triangle in the 1960s, is a movie from director Tran Anh Hung, coming out in Japan soon — but there's no release date in the U.S. yet. Meanwhile, there's also a short film, The Second Bakery Attack, starring Kirsten Dunst and Brian Geraghty, based on this short story. In the case of "Bakery," it seems like there's a weird sort of curse that causes an insatiable hunger that leads to extreme, bakery-robbing behavior that changes people's lives. But as with many of Murakami's fantastical devices, the hunger curse is kept extremely vague. Here's a clip from the short film:

Could this be the beginning of a wave of Murakami films, including some of his more surreal, fantastical works? Let's hope so, although there's one bad sign — Hung said it took him four years to convince Murakami to let him adapt Norwegian Wood.

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For those not of the epic novel sort- The Elephant Vanishes is a good one.

Bad part- when he has a new novel- you have to wait 3-5 years for the English translation- sucks.