National

They missed the Nobel, but Murakami fans seek solace in novelist's affection for Dylan

Kyodo

Among the many admirers of Nobel laureate Bob Dylan is novelist Haruki Murakami, who makes several references to the renowned singer-songwriter in his works.

Murakami, the 67-year-old author of best-sellers that include “Norwegian Wood” and “IQ84,” has repeatedly been spoken of as a candidate for the literature prize.

He emerged into prominence on the literary scene after winning the Tanizaki Prize in 1985 for “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World,” which makes mention of Dylan’s work.

In one of the two narratives that develop in parallel in the novel, the main character talks about Dylan’s music with a woman at a car rental office. The narrative ends with the character sleeping to Dylan’s song “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.”

Dylan’s name also crops up in the 1987 hit “Norwegian Wood.” In it, a woman named Reiko visits the narrator and plays on guitar dozens of songs, including those of Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Carole King and the Beach Boys.

Murakami also wrote about Dylan in a collection of essays on music, in which he placed the singer-songwriter in the context of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the subsequent anti-Vietnam War movement.

Some Murakami fans who were hoping again that he would win the prize this year voiced their disappointment after Dylan was named as the recipient on Thursday, but others recognized that it had at least gone to an artist their own favorite appreciates.

“I think it’s okay because he is an artist Haruki likes,” Satoko Muta, 38, said at a Tokyo cafe thronged by Murakami fans.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5