Authors Similar to Haruki Murakami

Authors Similar to Haruki Murakami in Mind-Bending Contemporary Fiction

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." Haruki Murkaami, Norwegian Wood


I am always on the lookout for authors similar to Haruki Murakami. I read and teach Haruki Murakami’s novels and stories, and I’ve written a handful of articles about Haruki Murakami, but as much as I love reading him, I want to acknowledge that there are other authors out there. And they’re quite good. Murakami even reads many of the authors on this list, so his fans and readers are sure to find some works of contemporary fiction that will meet their standards.

Contemporary fiction is the loose term that functions as the common thread that ties each author on this list together. Genres range from hard-boiled detective fiction to postmodern literature to magical realism, realism, and more. These authors, similar to Haruki Murakami, have redefined contemporary literature and teach readers everywhere the overwhelming power of language. They play with narrative, story, and plot in ways that keep the reader wanting more.

Before we start, here is a quick definition. The definition of contemporary literature or contemporary fiction is the following:

“Literature written by authors who refuse to reside within literary boundaries, choosing to reflect the realities, insanities, absurdities, ironies, comedies and contradictions present in post-globalization human cultures. It is a flexible term that does not set any boundaries, encouraging expanding them instead. Contemporary fiction authors uses any technique available to express themselves.”

No matter what your definition of contemporary literature is – I’ve taught some of the books below and many of the short stories written by these authors. You will likely enjoy these works if you love Haruki Murakami’s novels and short stories – or even if you don’t. If you’re looking for authors similar to Haruki Murakami, then this list will definitely get you started. If you’re looking for some phenomenal contemporary fiction to enjoy, these contemporary writers are a great place to start.

If a title catches your eye, click on the author’s name to learn more about him.

If you loved Kafka on the Shore, read Franz Kafka

  • The Trial
  • The Castle
  • The Metamorphosis
  • In the Penal Colony

Franz Kafka - Contemporary Fiction

If you loved The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, read Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • 100 Years of Solitude
  • A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
  • Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  • Of Love and Other Demons

If you loved The Elephant Vanishes, read Jorge Luis Borges

  • Collected Fictions
  • Labyrinths
  • The Book of Imaginary Beings
  • Collected Non-Fictions
  • Collected Poetry

If you loved Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, read David Foster Wallace

  • Infinite Jest
  • The Pale King
  • Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
  • Consider the Lobster
  • Oblivion

David Foster Wallace - Contemporary Fiction

If you loved 1Q84, read Umberto Eco

  • Foucoult’s Pendulum
  • The Name of the Rose
  • The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • How to Travel With a Salmon and Other Essays
  • Travels in Hyperreality

If you loved Killing Commendatore, read Milan Kundera

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
  • Immortality
  • The Joke

If you loved Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, read Mark Z. Danielewski

  • House of Leaves
  • The Familiar Volumes I-V
  • Only Revolutions
  • The Fifty Year Sword

If you loved Norwegian Wood, read Raymond Chandler

  • The Big Sleep
  • The Long Goodbye
  • Farewell, My Lovely

If you loved Dance, Dance, Dance, read Alain Robbe-Grillet

  • Jealousy
  • Labyrinths

If you loved A Wild Sheep Chase, read Jose Saramago

  • Blindness
  • Seeing
  • Death With Interruptions
  • All the Names
  • The Double

If you loved Hear the Wind Sing, read Orphan Pamuk

  • Snow
  • My Name is Red
  • A Strangeness in My Mind: A Novel

If you loved Sputnik Sweetheart, read Italo Calvino

  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
  • Invisible Cities
  • The Complete Cosmicomics

If you loved After Dark, read Thomas Pynchon

  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Mason & Dixon
  • V.

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - Contemporary Literature


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A fresh perspective on the imbalance between animals and humans, Haruki Murakami’s short story The Elephant Vanishes explores the troubling paradoxes hiding in a relationship built on exploitation instead of reciprocity.

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Marilyn McEntyre When Poets Pray

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Lost in Translation: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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Authors Similar to Haruki Murakami in Mind-Bending Contemporary Fiction

19 thoughts on “Authors Similar to Haruki Murakami in Mind-Bending Contemporary Fiction”

  1. I have been reading Paul Auster and was thinking that he reminds me of Haruki Murakami more than any other writer I have read. He has that same surreal quality.

  2. I am absolutely in love with Murakami so this post is great! So far I’ve only read some Kafka, but as I would have guessed, Murakami has an exquisite taste in books!

    1. I actually thought about that a lot prior to writing this. Do you think any female authors resemble Murakami’s style or voice? That is what I was aiming to recommend to readers.

    2. I think Susanna Clarke’s work – Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is worth a mention. She is the only woman author I have read that treads on similar ground – not quite magic realism, but a great intersection of magical & real world.

    3. Hi Jessica, Thanks for being a great educator, program leader and friend. I’ve just read an article in Spanish from La Vanguardia in honour of Haruki on his 70th
      Murakami comments how he writes about strange things but in real life he’s a realist…how in general, the women he’s known have been more intelligent than himself.
      Regarding Women authors who resemble his style/voice we could consider a move away from patriarchal domination and include recommendations of merit

    4. Murakami has said he wanted to create his own unique style. There are contemporary Women Writers enclosed with the link who I have not read yet but who write in the realm of Magical Realism this is what I want to promote.

  3. This may be either too ‘out of the box’ or just too foolhardy, but I found Murakami as more literal, voluminous and lyrical version of Philip K. Dick. Both Dick and Murakami try to conjure up newer realities which the protagonists of the novel try to explore and thus take the story forward. Murakami has a much broader audience, and not contained to only science fiction.

    1. I am with you on that. A lot of my research into Murakami’s works explores the material imagination, the productive unconscious, and similar articulations.

  4. This is a great list!! You’ve mentioned many of my favorite writers (especially Borges and Saramago) and I’ve shockingly read most of the books on this list and all of the writers except for the Pynchon! (I’ve yet to read him ; but plan on diving in soon.) But I guess it makes sense that if I love Murakami I’d love the influences 🙂
    Great post, once again!

    PS I agree with the person that mentioned Paul Auster. His early novels especially have a strikingly similar tone (and like Murakami straddle “low brow” detective genres with magical realism and experimental writing). I would only add to this list the writings of Raymond Chandler (and possibly other detective writers). Murakami’s tone, style, and pacing owe a tremendous amount of debt to the “hard boiled” detective writing — and I think his mix of that type of writing with surreal/fantastic and literary elements are part of what makes him so special.

    1. I just revisited Borges with our critical theory and philosophy reading group – what a joy. Every time! I have a few of Auster’s works but have not read him yet. Maybe this summer. I agree with your thoughts on Chandler – I ended up reading The Big Sleep after teaching through Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and wanting to understand the references. What a great book!

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