Re: Murakami Haruki
Perhaps the great overrated writer of our time. Don't get me wrong, I usually like Murakami (though I often find myself saying bad things about him just to do my little part to balance out the gushing), but the elevating of him to the status of modern giant is a total headscratcher for me. It's not his fault - and I wonder if he even finds himself tickled by it all - but amusingly surreal tales about lost souls in a pop culture wasteland just don't make for great literature. I can see that there are those who praise this "genius" just to stick it to "elitists" (like yours true) who have no real interest in the contemplation or celebration of pop culture, and may be more inclined to read a Murakami book as a pleasant little distraction after tackling something dark and heavy. It's actually been years since I read him, but they all kind of blend together for me when I try to think of individual Murakami books. I gave up altogether after Kafka on the Shore, which was so much that Norweigan derby I used to have that's been sitting in the closet for ages that I finally decided I'd had enough.
According to a Japanese friend most Japanese with literary taste find it quite hard to fathom the fawning by supposedly respectable international journals, as Murakami (and Yoshimoto Banana) are considered to be quite mediocre, especially compared to the greats of Japanese literature. Even in translation Kawabata, Mishima, Oe, Endo, Hayashi, Akutagawa, Abe, Natsume, Enchi, etc. are just way out of Mr. Murakami's league.
The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather, he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil. - Hermann Broch