I forgot to link to

I forgot to link to this the other day: Telegraph interview with Haruki Murakami.

The hero of Murakami’s stories, which are invariably written in the first person, is a sort of Japanese everyman for the modern age. We might assume that he is a version of Murakami himself. This Murakami doppelganger is somewhere in his twenties or thirties. He works as a minor cog in the wheels of the service industry – commercial translation, writing advertising copy – something below his intellectual capabilities. He’s sometimes unemployed. Work bores him. He lives in Tokyo, most usually in an egg-carton apartment building close to a flyover. He is sometimes married or has a girlfriend, but he’s essentially a loner. He usually has a cat.

He listens to a lot of music – rock, classical and jazz (Bill Evans and the Beach Boys are particular favourites) – but nothing Japanese. His listening is frequently interrupted by strange telephone calls – mysterious women offering phone sex; gangsters making quiet threats. He tends to sleep badly, often getting up in the middle of the night to drink whisky and brood on things until day-break. He is a decent sort, bemused by the essential strangeness of life, with more questions than answers. "I can understand his position," says Murakami lightly. "He’s an outsider. He’s his own man. He doesn’t belong to any system or any company. He’s part of me, but he’s not me. He’s looking for something."