These days, the main criticism of Haruki Murakami is that he's spent most of his career writing the same story over and over. To a certain extent it's a fair point: cats, jazz, spaghetti and questionable female characters will all make an appearance at some point; but rather than making jokes, it's interesting to ask why. Some put it down to age, some to the author resting on his laurels, others to a desperation for that elusive Nobel Prize. Yet clues can be found in his own writing, specifically "Underground."

Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, by Haruki Murakami Translated by Alfred Birnbaum and Philip Gabriel.
384 pages