Murakami, the famous Japanese novelist and translator, answered questions of his avid readers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Some of the questions he was asked included why he preferred writing in first person and why he chooses the motifs in his books. Regarding first person writing, he said,” I wrote my first novel in 1979. Since then, I’ve written every novel in the first person. I tried a couple of times to do the third person (it took me 20 years: the first was Kafka on the Shore) – and every time, I feel uncomfortable, like I’m looking down from above. I wanted to stand at the same level as my characters. It’s democratic!”
Regarding the rhythm of his writing, Murakami stated, “When I write a novel, it takes one or two years – and I write day after day … I get tired! I have to open up the window to get fresh air. I write another line of the story to get entertained – I hope the readers will be entertained as well! Also, I write in the first person, so I need something else [to develop these storylines]: letters, or somebody’s story.”
As for the use of coincidences in his novels, Murakami had this to say: “Dickens’s books are full of coincidences; so are Raymond Chandler’s: Philip Marlowe encounters numerous dead bodies in the City of Angels. It’s unrealistic – even in LA! But nobody complains about it, as without it, how could the story happen? That’s my point. / And so many coincidences happen in my real life. Many strange coincidences have happened in many junctures in my life.” Murakami answered other questions regarding his writing styles and his reading preferences at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.